Issues & Ales: What is the future of media and journalism in North Central Alabama?


Make plans now to attend Public Radio WBHM 90.3 FM’s next Issues & Ales event Thursday, Oct. 4 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Cantina at Pepper Place to for food, fun and a panel discussion on the future of journalism in North Central Alabama. Brought to you by WBHM’s Junior Advisors, the event is also a chance for you to meet new station General Manager Scott Hanley.

The only constant in life is change, and that is certainly true of the news media in Birmingham and around the nation. The rapid changes not only in print journalism, but in technology, social media and other mediums, as well, have a lot of people wondering: “What is the future of media and journalism in North Central Alabama?”

  • How will the move to a three day-a-week print publication at The Birmingham News change journalism in the metro area?
  • Who’s making money and how are they doing it with online journalism?
  • Why should you care?

The event is set for Thursday, Oct. 4 at 6 p.m. at the Cantina at Pepper Place (2901 2nd Ave. South), and the format is quite informal. We’re inviting WBHM listeners, local journalists, media specialists, business leaders and others to come to the Cantina, buy themselves a drink or food (if they like), and then discuss media and journalism with each other and a four-member panel facilitated by new station GM Scott Hanley. Our panelists for the evening are:

  • Vickii Howell, editor-in-chief and producer of Birmingham View Magazine and Television, telling the world the good news from Birmingham, and founding partner and president of Avant Media Communications, a full-service strategic communications and social marketing agency. Vickii is a past vice-president of print for the Birmingham Association of Black Journalists and serves on several non-profit boards. Tweet her @vickiihowell.
  • André Natta, publisher and editor of The Terminal, a community news site he created. André also writes a monthly column for B-Metro Magazine, “The Digital City,” on social media and how it’s impacting the future of Birmingham, and maintains two blogs, Urban Conversations, a look at the worlds of economic development, urban revitalization and social media, and Dre’s Ramblings. He is a city appointee to the Jefferson County Historical Commission and has served as the president of the Birmingham Jaycees. Find him at @acnatta on Twitter.
  • Bob Sims, director of Content at al.com, who works with officials at The Birmingham News, The Huntsville Times and The Mobile Press-Register to develop content and expand the audience. Bob also has been Internet editor of The Birmingham News and was previously managing editor of The Prattville Progress in Autauga County, Ala., and worked at The Montgomery Advertiser. Bob is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and the Alabama Army National Guard. His Twitter handle is @bob_sims.
  • Kyle Whitmire, a local government and politics reporter for The Birmingham News. Kyle is former new media editor /senior writer for Weld for Birmingham, which he co-founded, and a former staff writer/new media editor for Birmingham Weekly. He also has written stories for The New York Times covering a wide variety of topics from business to sports to the arts. You can find Kyle on Twitter @warondumb.

The event kicks off at 6 p.m. with comments from our speakers, then a guided conversation between the speakers and attendees. Issues & Ales is part of the outreach effort of Public Radio WBHM 90.3 FM, a listener-supported service of UAB and the station where you can listen – and be heard.