Birmingham Mail Communities
Trinity Mirror has launched a new series of hyperlocal news websites partnering with local bloggers and community news sites.

Birmingham Mail Communities will feature community sites carrying news, pictures, listings information and maps for 29 local areas covered by the Mail.

As part of the new network of sites, the Mail is working with existing, independent websites and bloggers in these areas, including the Lichfield Blog and Bournville Village.

More than 25 external sites have signed up to the initiative and agreed to have their content used by the Mail in print and online with credits and links back to their websites. RSS feeds from the independent sites will also appear on the community pages and the Mail will make relevant images available to those taking part.

The third-party sites will also have a hand in deciding how part of the Mail's charitable trust donations are spent and will assist in four-times-a-year community workshops, according to a statement from Trinity Mirror.

Former Birmingham City University lecturer in online journalism Paul Bradshaw and founder of the Talk About Local network William Perrin were both consulted by Trinity Mirror in setting up the network.

The agreement between the Mail and the hyperlocal sites involved in the new venture is in stark contrast to previous relationships between local newspapers and independent sites.

"The future for local news and information is one where people work together, so I welcome Trinity Mirror’s initiative in trying to work with local sites," says Talk About Local's Perrin in a press release announcing the new network.

"Talk About Local has helped Trinity Mirror reach out to some local sites and develop a package that recognises many sites generate great stories but are volunteer run and motivated by civic good, rather than financial return. Initially the relationship between newspapers and hyperlocal sites didn't get off to a good start - with a lot of sharp elbows and misunderstanding - so let's hope that Birmingham can show the way for others to follow."

Trinity's first steps into postcode-level websites were in 2007 with a network of sites in Teesside, launched by the Teesside Evening Gazette. It has also launched community news sites through its Media Wales division for Cardiff and Pontypridd.

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