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I am an experienced online journalist and political editor working for Trinity Mirror papers in the West Midlands and the North East, based in the Parliamentary Press Gallery at Westminster.

I understand how government, Parliament and political parties work. I am equally at home digging out stories from data, social media or interviews as I am covering major set-piece events or explaining how things work to readers.

I produce content which is shareable and promote my work on social media.

My experience with content management systems and knowledge of HTML allows me to include charts, embedded content from third parties and formatting in my work, to create content which encourages interaction and keeps readers on the page.

Contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (but please send press releases to my work email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. as this is the email I monitor during working hours).

Birmingham is currently winning the battle to be named Britain's Second City on Wikipedia, probably the most influential source of information on the interweb today.

Wikipedia is the encyclopaedia anyone can edit, making it useless as a source to be relied on. The problem isn't so much straight factual inaccuracies as bias and point-of-view pushing.

It is, however, immensely popular, with around seven billion page views (not unique visits) a month.

In theory, editors are bound by a strict set of rules, such as the requirement to cite authoritative sources and to achieve consensus before making major changes.

In practice, sources are frequently used to push a particular point of view. You simply start out knowing what you want to say and then search for a source to back it up, ignoring the ones that don't support your position.

As for consensus, this tends to apply to individual pages, not the encyclopedia as a whole.

Hence, the Birmingham entry tells us that "Birmingham is the largest of England's core cities, and is the second city of the United Kingdom".

The Manchester entry, however, states that it is "often described as the second city of the UK."

While they don't quite contradict each other, Manchester's entry suggests that Birmingham is often not considered to be the second city.

The reason for this discrepancy is obvious - Manchester's entry is edited mainly by Mancs, while Birmingham's entry is edited by Brummies.

Not that this could ever be proved.

Asking an editor where they came from would be to imply bias, and this is against Wikipedia's rules. One must "assume good faith" at all times.

But the real battle takes place over on the England and UK pages, where passive-aggressive war has waged over the way city populations should be measured.

If you look at the actual city populations, Birmingham is the second largest, after London.

And if you prefer to use conurbation populations, the West Midlands still beats Greater Manchester.

So the Mancs have focused on "Larger Urban Zones", which is apparently some nonsense dreamt up by our masters in Brussels.

According to the European Union, the biggest Larger Urban Zone in the UK is London, with 11.9 million people.

But in second place comes Manchester, with 2.5 million people. Then comes Leeds, with Birmingham (pop. 2.3 million) in fourth place.

I've never once heard any British politician talk about them, but for a while Wikipedia's entry for the United Kingdom presented these "zones" as a list of the largest cities in the country - ensuring Manchester was placed second.

As I write this, however, the article lists city populations, placing Birmingham second, but that could change at any time.

Predictably, Manchester's entry continues to give prominent position to these Larger Urban Zones, while they are not mentioned in the entry on Birmingham.

Of course, there's more to being a second city than having the second-largest population. And it's sometimes said that Birmingham should stop describing itself as "second" and just call itself a great city.

But I'm still glad to see the Mancs put in their place.

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About me

Jonathan Walker Political Editor of the Birmingham Post, Birmingham Mail, Sunday Mercury, Coventry Telegraph, Newcastle Journal, Newcastle Chronicle and Sunday Sun.

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Email jonathan@walkerjon.com (but please send press releases to my work email which is
jon.walker@trinitymirror.com, as this is the email I monitor during working hours).

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