Newspaper boss judged to be most influential media player in West Midlands


Simon Fox, boss of the media group that owns iconic newspaper brands in the West Midlands – including the Birmingham Post and Mail and Coventry Telegraph – has topped a poll naming the most influential media people in the region.

Also in the powerlist are Tom Watson, the crusading MP who challenged the actions of one of the most powerful media groups in the world, and BBC Asian Network broadcaster Adil Ray who is behind the hugely popular BBC comedy Citizen Khan set in the Sparkhill area of Birmingham.

Birmingham City University - a recognised national leader in media education – organised the inaugural BCU Media Power 20 exercise which has revealed a surprising mix of practitioners and academics who are all shaping the region’s media landscape.

Re-thinking Regional Media

The quest was launched at the University’s recent Re-thinking Regional Media summit which attracted experts and media professionals from across the region and beyond – and recommendations from this group are to be presented to national decision-makers.

Poll-winner Simon Fox, who joined the Trinity Mirror group as its Chief Executive in 2010, has been hailed as an innovator – someone who can radically rethink how newspapers are run in a digital age. With flagship national and regional titles now part of a unified Trinity Mirror portfolio it was seen as having a significant importance to the West Midlands.

Runner-up in the poll was West Midlands MP Tom Watson, a leading protagonist in the phone hacking scandal whose one-man crusade helped trigger the current review of the press and its ethics. Tom Watson is a West Midlander whose actions will shape the media industry for generations to come.

In third place came Will Trotter, head of drama at the BBC, and the man behind programmes like Doctors and Land Girls. He has been highly effective in keeping drama-making in the region and producing work that is seen and loved by millions of TV viewers.

Pioneering academics

Birmingham City University’s own commitment to media innovation has been recognised with two pioneering academics associated with the University being listed. Paul Bradshaw, a Reader in Online Journalism at Birmingham City University’s School of Media, is nationally recognised as a leader in digital journalism, while colleague Dave Harte runs a uniquely respected masters course in social media.

The Media Power 20 list

The full BCU Media Power 20 list is shown below:

1 Simon Fox, chief executive, Trinity Mirror plc
2. Tom Watson, MP for West Bromwich East and one of the leading protagonist in the phone hacking scandal
3. Will Trotter, head of drama, BBC Birmingham
4. Phil Riley, chief executive, Free Radio
5. Ashley Tabor, executive director, Global Radio
6. Paul Bradshaw, described by Press Gazette as one of the country's "most influential journalism bloggers"
7. Adrian Faber, editor, Express & Star, Wolverhampton
8. Ed James, presenter, Heart FM
9. Jonnie Turpie, Maverick TV
10. Adrian Goldberg, presenter, Radio WM
11. Stacey Barnfield, executive editor, Birmingham Mail
12. Nick Booth, social media advocate and blogger, Podnosh
13. Alun Thorne, editor, Coventry Telegraph
14. Adil Ray, broadcaster, scriptwriter and programme maker
15. Dean Lovett, MD, McCann Erikson, Birmingham
16. Bob Warman, presenter, ITV Central
17. Nick Owen, presenter, BBC Midlands Today
18. Jon Griffin, business correspondent, Birmingham Mail
19. Lis Lewis Jones, chief executive, Liquid PR
20. Dave Harte, award leader of MA social media at Birmingham City University and hyperlocal blogger

Marc Reeves, chair of the BCU Media Power 20 judging panel, said the quest to find the most influential people in the region’s media community had revealed a diverse mix of people – with a number of surprises.

He added: “According to our powerlist the most influential individuals in the West Midland’s media world are the London-based chief executive of a newspaper group, a rebel MP and a TV programme-maker fighting hard to keep the television drama flame alive in the region.”

“Behind them vying for placings in the top 20 are faces familiar to millions of regional TV news bulletins, a smattering of social media innovators and a couple of representatives from those who work to influence the media based in the marketing and PR sectors.

“After much feedback from contributors to our blog and the deliberations of our judges we have at last produced a list which we hope will help to continue the debate initiated by Birmingham City University's 'Rethinking Regional Media' event in October.”

More information and a chance to feed back can be found at the Rethinking Regional Media blog.

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