Podcast: Gayle Tomlinson on Trinity Mirror’s regional shift to digital first

The reconstruction of the regional media around the Internet remains a work in progress. It’s an undertaking that is going to take a generation to work through.

Gayle Tomlinson has been recently recruited to the ranks to help with the task. She’s been hired by Trinity Mirror to spearhead the social media efforts of its regional titles.

Gayle is a journalist turned brand communicator, public relations practitioner and teacher. You can connect with her via Twitter @gayle_tomlinson.

We spoke last week about the task that she faces. Her new role is to look at social media strategy for all of Trinity Mirror’s regional titles from Cardiff to Newcastle, and Birmingham to Manchester.

The job results from a project she ran for the business pages at The Journal (Newcastle) and the realisation that readers’ attitudes to social media are firmly changing.

The NETwiteratti sought out influential people in and around the north east of England on social media, alongside the regular annual business profiles. Gayle and her team kindly listed me in the line-up.

Changing attitudes to regional news consumption

Gayle reckons that now we’re entirely comfortable with receiving news in our newsfeeds and sharing content with media organisations via our networks.

Regional news media lies at the heart of a community and is social by its very nature.  Yet media organisations, wedded to print formats, have been slow to break from the constraints of the daily news cycle and capitalise upon the opportunity. But that’s changing fast.

The opportunity according to Gayle is for regional news organisations to source and tell stories across whatever platforms readers are using whether Facebook, Google+, Twitter, or print. It’s a combination of content and curation.

Digital first and the changing newsroom

Trinity Mirror is looking to redesign the workflow in its newsrooms as a result. A project called Newsroom 3.1 being piloted in Newcastle is based on a digital first strategy. Stories are published and shared in real time and are no longer held for print.

It’s a new approach for regional papers that has the potential to turn the news room upside down.

Gayle cites the Liverpool Echo as an example of a regional title in the Trinity Mirror stable that has actively engaged with its community via social media since 2007. The Birmingham Mail and Manchester Evening News are making similar progress, she says.

She says it’s an exciting time to work in journalism. The business is experiencing massive waves of innovation, citing the Guardian’s approach to news, and both BuzzFeed and The New Yorker’s approaches to long-form content.

Gayle calls out Steve Buttry of Digital First Media and Jay Rosen from New York University, as her sources of inspiration, and people to follow who spot new things and offer practical advice on the future of media.


Podcasting is a relatively new thing for me. I’ve started recording short interviews like this with people that I meet or who are part of my network. It’s You can access on Soundcloud, via your favourite podcast app, or iTunes. Thanks for listening.

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Professional advisor for agencies and communication teams, Wadds Inc. Author: #brandvandals, Exploring PR and Management Communication. #PRstack, Share This, and others. Visiting Professor, Newcastle University.

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