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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).

The website of Jonathan Walker, Political Editor for the Birmingham Post and Mail

The definitive map of the Internet

I came across this interesting map of the internet, which is apparently roughly to scale based on the number of people using each service or taking part in each activity.

Notice how Facebook dominates the world, with a frightening number of people playing Farmville (I don't know what Happy Farm is and refuse to look it up).

Online Communities

Full size version

Read more: The definitive map of the Internet

Farewell to The Stirrer as pioneer Adrian Goldberg heads back to the BBC

Farewell then The Stirrer, an independent news website which is closing after four years.

The Stirrer covered Birmingham and the Black Country, reporting mainly on politics.

It's been a huge success in generating original stories, becoming required reading among the West Midlands' political and media classes and developing a loyal community, which hangs out at the site's active forum.

Editor Adrian Goldberg was less successful in achieving what I understand was his original aim, which was to earn a living from the site and, eventually, to employ others.

Read more: Farewell to The Stirrer as pioneer Adrian Goldberg heads back to the BBC

Johnston results show newspapers still enjoy healthy profit margins

Johnston Press recently published its interim results for the first six months of the year, showing an increased profit and operating profit of 19.5 per cent.

Operating profit was £40.05 million, up from £38.2 million compared to the previous year, on a turnover of £207.3 million.

As I've pointed out before, newspaper revenues may be falling but profit margins continue to be much higher than in most other industries.

Print advertising revenues fell by £8.4 million while digital revenues rose by £1 million, but it's important to note that digital revenues, at £10 million, are still much lower than print advertising revenues at £124.1 million. Johnston also raised £49.1 million from newspaper sales.

Johnston publishes 18 daily papers, including the Yorkshire Post, and 253 weeklies.

A demonstration "social newspaper"

Some time ago, I wrote a post called promoting communities on newspaper websites, which suggested local newspapers could do more to help communities develop on their sites.

To try to illustrate what I meant, I have now created a dummy newspaper website which does four things:

  • Allows readers to create an online profile on the website, or to use an existing Facebook profile
  • Provides ways for readers to interact with each other on the site
  • Provides ways for readers to interact with journalists and bloggers on the site, on an equal basis
  • Allows readers to share things, such as links, articles, videos and photos, to create content on forums and to advertise events

It's still clear what's been written by the paper's journalists and news is presented in a traditional manner (perhaps something else that deserves consideration in the future) but it is integrated with the "community" features of the site rather than separated.

Each journalist has a profile containing all sorts of information designed to help readers and hacks interact, and the profiles are presented alongside those of readers.

The features of the dummy site are fully functional. It does not, however, contain any real news or advertising - the news stories, blog posts, forum posts etc either contain information about the features of the site, or are placeholders.

It's not meant to be the "best" or perfect way of designing a news website, and it certainly doesn't have the perfect design. It may have a few bugs.

But it is designed to illustrate the sort of thing I think local newspapers could and should be doing more of. Or maybe I'm wrong - take a look and tell me what you think.

Social Bookmarks module for Joomla

One of the great things about Joomla is the large number of free modules and plugins available for it (and some good commercial ones too). But sometimes the only way to get exactly what you want is to do it yourself.

So I'm a little proud of myself after creating my first simple module, although it draws on code from a number of different sources as I examined other people's modules to see how they worked.

It's called Social Bookmarks and you can see it to the top right of this article (under the heading share this post) if you are viewing the full article (if you can see the "read more" button below then you need to click on that to see the module - or click the headline).

The rest of this article is aimed at Joomla users coming here to download the module or check what it does:

Read more: Social Bookmarks module for Joomla

How sick are local newspapers?

Trinity Mirror's regional division had an operating profit margin of 18.2 per cent excluding the recently-acquired Manchester titles in the first six months of this year, or 17.8 per cent including them.

That's £26.2 million and £28.9 million respectively.

Full details are available here:

For comparison, Tesco's operating profit margin in recent years has been around six per cent.

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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 (but please send press releases to my work email which is, as this is the email I monitor during working hours).

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