25 September 2012

University professor discovers strength of street paper model in Korea

Lee Chang-kook
Earlier this year, Lee Chang-kook, Emeritus Professor at Chung-Ang University in Korea bought a street paper for the first time in his life. He was so impressed that he wrote about it in the Korea Times.
Reflecting on his experience of buying a copy of The Big Issue Korea, he describes his initial doubts about making the purchase. But after talking to vendor Yim Heung-shik and reading the magazine, he was hooked:

"During my conversation with Yim I found him surprisingly smart, cheerful and sometimes even humorous. More than anything else, he was grateful for and proud of being a seller of the magazine."

24 September 2012

New look for American street paper Spare Change News

Massachusetts street paper Spare Change News has recently both changed its editor and redesigned its layout. Now running for 20 years, there have been over 500 issues, a history which new editor Rev. Osagyefo Sekou is proud of. In his first editorial, he reveals how he plans on building on it, producing "the stories that would not be told if we did not tell them" and helping to achieve a future where “all are housed and fed; each person according to their own need, abiding in a nation that judges its greatest against the quality of life of the least of these.”

22 September 2012

North Carolina's new street paper about to print second edition

The second issue of Speak Up, Charlotte, N.C’s, new street paper, is soon to be published. In the wake of an overwhelmingly positive reception to the first one- including a review in the Charlotte Observer- hopes are high for the future of the publication. The magazine is in the process of membership application for the North American Street Paper Association (NASNA) and INSP.

One of Speak Up's innovative ways to recruit new vendors is via 'panhandling cards' (pictured right) distributed to the general public. The idea -explained on the street paper's website- is that "whenever you see someone begging for money, you can offer them a job instead.  Direct them to Speak Up, where they’ll be able to take a step away from panhandling and gain some self-respect. Direct them to Speak Up, where they’ll find a supportive community to journey alongside them."

20 September 2012

Interview with INSP Patron Paulo Coelho republished in 10 countries

The Big Issue Zambia
Streetroots, Portland, Sept 2012
Big name interviews continue to have a huge impact on street paper sales. An interview with Brazilian author Paulo Coelho, secured by The Big Issue UK in October last year has been translated and republished by street papers in 10 countries. The story was distributed through the INSP newswire, which allows 122 street papers worldwide to share their content.

More street papers picked up the story in recent months, after INSP announced Coelho to be its latest Ambassador.

Following original publication in The Big Issue in Britain, Street Roots and Toledo Streets in the USA, Nota Bene in Slovakia, Kupfermuckn in Austria, Die Jerusalemmer, bodo and Fiftyfifty in Germany, De Riepe in The Netherlands, WSPAK in Poland, The Big Issue in Zambia, The Big Issue Korea and =Oslo in Norway ran the interview in their magazines. See the clipping of The Big Issue Zambia here.

Coelho, whose book The Alchemist has been read by half a billion people, is used to overcoming challenges, after being committed to an asylum and then arrested and tortured for his political beliefs. In the interview he explains how he now wants to inspire a cultural revolution amongst millions of Twitter devotees.

Interviews mit großen Namen haben einen riesigen Einfluss auf die Verkaufszahlen von Straßenzeitungen. Ein Interview mit dem brasilianischen Autor Paulo Coelho, das sich The Big Issue UK gesichert hatte, wurde von Straßenzeitungen aus 10 Ländern übersetzt und gedruckt.

 Hier sehen Sie den Ausschnitt aus dem Big Issue Sambia.

Coelho, dessen Buch "Der Alchimist" von einer halben Milliarde Menschen gelesen wurde, ist daran gewöhnt, Herausforderungen zu meistern: Er wurde in eine psychiatrische Anstalt eingewiesen und anschließend wegen seiner politischen Ansichten verhaftet und gefoltert. In dem Interview erklärt er, wir er jetzt Millionen von Twitter-Anhängern den Anstoß zu einer kulturellen Revolution geben möchte.

14 September 2012

Street paper vendors earn £1.1 million from Dalai Lama edition

The Dalai Lama's exclusive interview on INSP street paper covers
Homeless street paper vendors made a combined profit of £1.1 million thanks to a special Dalai Lama edition. The exclusive interview and photo shoot were published by 72 publications in 27 countries and led to sell-outs across the globe.

The interview, secured by the International Network of Street Papers (INSP), featured on the cover of its member publications throughout the summer, with the last edition hitting the streets of Montreal, Canada this weekend. A total of 1 million copies of the Dalai Lama edition have been sold by over 10,000 vendors.

Volunteers of the Glasgow-based charity translated the story into 13 languages, including Portuguese, Slovak and Japanese. Street paper sellers around the world acquired new readers as a result of the interview.

In the interview, the Dalai Lama directly addressed the vendors of the publications he starred in. He advised them on how to deal with loneliness, an emotion shared by many homeless street paper sellers. He also stressed the importance of independent media –including street papers- in today’s society.

As vendors buy their copies for a marked down price and sell them on the streets for the cover price to make a profit, an attractive cover has a direct impact on their sales and income. Recognising this, the Dalai Lama posed for a cover shot, holding up a selection of street papers. The iconic image made the front page in hundreds of cities from the USA to Ukraine.

Paddy, vendor of The Big Issue UK in Glasgow, said: "The Dalai Lama edition was the best cover we've had for ages. I walked into the Big Issue offices and just thought 'Wow, they're gonna sell like hot cakes’. A good cover tells me I'll have a good week. I sold roughly 70 copies that week - that's more than usual."

Hans-Peter, vendor of Hinz&Kunzt in Hamburg, Germany, said: "The cover is brilliant! Customers spot it even from a great distance and recognise the Dalai Lama. You can hear them say: ‘I have to get this’ or even ‘Please give me two copies, I am going to give one to my son.’ My sales numbers are amazing!"

Cynthia, vendor of The Big Issue South Africa in Cape Town, said: "I liked the Dalai Lama edition because it was a simple but good cover. He is so well known and loved all over the world. I have gained many new customers because of this cover."

Robert, vendor of Groundcover News in Michigan, USA, said: “He does a good job providing a whole world view of poverty. His perspective really conveys some of the emotions of what it means to be homeless.”

Kelvin, vendor of The Big Issue Australia in Adelaide, said: "He is a very popular person so people recognise him. Whether they believe his beliefs or not, a lot of people feel for him. My sales have gone up this edition because of the interest in him."

Joanne Zuhl, Editor of Street Roots, Portland, Oregon, said: “The Dalai Lama edition sold out two days ahead of schedule. It was a rock solid interview and readers loved it.”

Kristin Pazulski, Managing Editor of Denver VOICE, USA, said: “We sold out of our August issue with the Dalai Lama - 12,000 copies, first sell out in over a year!”

Danielle Batist, Editor of INSP, said: “Famous figures who give us interviews know that this is about more than global exposure to millions of readers. Their picture on our street paper covers directly helps homeless people earn additional income. The Dalai Lama, and others including Prince William and Bob Dylan, realised this and we are hugely grateful for their support.”

12 September 2012

Mario Bonino award for Argentinian street paper

Congratulations to Argentinian street paper Hecho en Bs. As. who have received the ' Mario Bonino ' award from the Union of Press Workers of Buenos Aires (UTPBA).

This is Hecho's second award in as many monts. Last month director Patricia Merkin was awarded by the city council. Read more.

10 September 2012

Vancouver's street paper celebrates 20th Anniversary

Vancouver's street paper Megaphone celebrated its recent 20th birthday with a special anniversary edition. Now on to its 111th issue, the paper's staff, volunteers and vendors have reason to be proud of their achievements. 

Editor Sean Condon said about the special edition: "This issue we track the history of street news in Vancouver from the iconic Georgia Straight's start as a street paper in the 1960s, to the birth of Spare Change, its evolution into The Street, a merger with Street Corner, and finally the change to Megaphone Magazine. But Megaphone wouldn't be the magazine it is today without the hard work and dedication of our vendors, and we celebrate them with profiles ranging from the veterans who have been with us from the start to the newcomers using the paper to turn their lives around."

7 September 2012

Copenhagen's free streets featured in German papers

The story featured in Freieburger.
The abolition of prohibition zones once used by police in areas of Copenhagen finally allows the city’s homeless population, drug addicts and prostitutes a basic right: to walk the streets of Denmark’s capital freely, without incurring fines. Danish street paper Hus Forbi wrote about this development, and submitted the story to the INSP News Service. There, volunteers translated it from Danish to English and then German, before it was published on the newswire for street papers. And that's how it ended up in two publications in different German cities: Freieburger (in Freiburg) and Hempels (Kiel).

Kopenhagens freie Straßen haben Zeitungen in Deutschland erobert 

Die Abschaffung der Sperrbezirke, die Polizisten in bestimmten Gegenden von Kopenhagen einst kontrolliert haben, gestattet den Obdachlosen, Drogensüchtigen und Prostituierten der Stadt endlich ein grundlegendes Recht: Sich frei auf den Straßen der dänischen Hauptstadt bewegen zu können, ohne Strafe zahlen zu müssen. Die dänische Straßenzeitung Hus Forbi schrieb über diese Entwicklung und gab die Story an den INSP News-Service weiter. Dort haben sie unsere ehrenamtlichen Übersetzer vom Dänischen ins Englische und dann ins Deutsche übertragen, bevor sie von unserem Nachrichtendienst für Straßenzeitungen angeboten wurde. Und so fand die Geschichte ihren Weg in zwei Magazine aus verschiedenen deutschen Städten: Freiebürger (Freiburg) und Hempels (Kiel).

Russia's street paper Put Domoi turns 18 years old

Happy birthday to Put Domoi, a street paper in St Petersburg, Russia, which turned 18!
Here is a video of their vendors talking about their lives and what Put Domoi means to them. 

3 September 2012

Great publicity for homeless performers at Olympics

The homeless performers featured in CAIS, Portugal
The news that homeless artists were part of the London 2012 Olympics for the first time got picked up by many street papers. Organisers said the event, held in the famous Royal Opera Hall, was a significant political statement, and that talks had been organised with the Olympic Committee to make the event part of future Olympics, too.

In Germany, street papers Soziale Welt and Hinz&Kunzt republished the piece. In Austria, it was Apropos and in South Korea it was The Big Issue Korea. In the US, the story got picked up by The Aplifier, Denver Voice, Streetvibes and Denver Dialogue. Vendors of street paper CAIS sold the story on the streets of Lisbon, see the clipping here.

Die Schlagzeile, dass obdachlose Künstler zum ersten Mal an der Olympiade von London 2012 teilnahmen, wurde von vielen Straßenzeitungen aufgenommen. Organisatoren halten dieses Event, das in der Royal Opera Hall stattfand, für eine bedeutende politische Stellungnahme und haben einige Treffen mit dem Olympischen Komitee organisiert, um diese Veranstaltung zukünftig fix in das offizielle olympische Programm aufzunehmen.

Die deutschen Straßenzeitungen Soziale Welt und Hinz&Kunzt griffen, gemeinsam mit der österreichischen Apropos, den Artikel auf. In Südkorea wurde er von The Big Issue Korea veröffentlicht, und in den USA von The Amplifier, Denver Voice, Streetvibes und Denver Dialogue. Die Verkäufer von CAIS verscherbelten das Stück auch auf den Straßen von Lissabon, siehe hier.

Reflections of an outgoing street paper editor...

Spare Change News' outgoing editor Tom Benner.
American street paper Spare Change News has recently appointed a new editor. Tom Benner, the outgoing editor of Spare Change News is relocating to Singapore this month. Here, he reflects on his year of adventure at Boston's street paper.

Like any good Greater Bostonian, I always dutifully bought each new issue of Spare Change News when it came out every other Friday. Jesse, my Spare Change vendor who sells the paper in Court Square, not too far from the State House in Boston, was a very nice guy. He was big on the mission of the paper and appreciative of the opportunity to sell it.

Jesse told me all about the paper. That it was founded by a group of homeless people. That homeless and formerly homeless people write for the paper to tell their stories and express their thoughts and concerns. That vendors buy the paper for 25 cents and sell it for a dollar, an entrepreneurial aspect many don’t know about. That it's a nonprofit whose mission is summed up in its tagline, "Helping People Help Themselves."

I knew I was helping Jesse, just a little, by being a regular customer and offering moral support. But I started to think I could help a little more.

The working journalist in me soon came out and I found myself critiquing the paper with every issue. It could use a lot of proofreading and some snappier headlines. Wow, they have some great ideas here and amazing “gets,” like an interview with a former governor, that they're not taking advantage of. Hey, I know some people who would make good interviews.

I decided to put my money where my mouth was, and began thinking about volunteering at Spare Change. When I made an inquiry, the answer came back: well, we’re looking for an editor. I eagerly applied, and soon got the job.

It wasn't for the money; the modest stipend that editors are paid didn't cover a portion of the 30 to 35 hours a week I put in, basically every waking moment when I wasn't teaching journalism to college sophomores. It was, and remains, a mostly volunteer position.

But it's been an amazing year. I wouldn't trade it for anything. If I've given back even just a little, this was the place for me to do it.

All of us here at Spare Change -- the homeless and formerly homeless vendors who sell and write for the paper, the freelance writers and editors, and the other volunteers who help get the paper out every other Friday -- have worked tirelessly at improving the quality of the newspaper. We've increased its circulation, expanded its presence on social media (including Facebook and Twitter pages and a revamped website with a new blog at www.sparechangenews.net), professionalized the editorial operations, and generally raised the paper’s prospects.

We created an editorial page, writing editorials reflecting the newspaper’s editorial positions and institutional viewpoints. We revived and expanded a writing-and-editing workshop, nurturing and developing the skills of homeless people, volunteers from area colleges, and freelance writers.

We even started an ad campaign for the paper, titled “Spare Change News: I Read It For The Articles.” The idea was that we didn't want Spare Change News to be a pity paper -- something people buy because they feel sorry for the man or woman selling it on the street, instead of buying it because they want to read it. Not out of an act of charity or pity.

The mission of the newspaper, now in its 20th year, is to empower the homeless and economically disadvantaged through self-employment, skills development, and self-expression. The paper is part of the International Network of Street Papers, a network of 125 publications in 40 countries with a combined readership of over 6 million. Many of the stories we've done here in Boston have run in papers around the world -- for example, an interview with Professor Noam Chomsky about the Occupy movement, and a piece on women's amateur boxing and its first-time inclusion in the London Olympics.

Working with homeless writers and vendors has been an education in itself for me. These are real people whom we so blithely walk past on the street, with real feelings and real families and real stories to tell. Many never had the opportunities to learn and advance that many of us housed people were lucky to have. In some cases, they never had access to help with their problems, the way the rest of us had. The Housing First thinkers have it right – the lack of affordable housing is the starting point if we’re going to end homelessness. But there is far more to be done to help this underserved population get off the streets, such as workforce training, child care vouchers so that single mothers can go work, and substance abuse and mental health counseling – things that amount to a hand up, not a hand out.

There is much more to be done as Spare Change continues its mission. With better fundraising, outreach and development, we'll have an editorial budget to pay a few of the folks who work so hard putting out the paper. For too long, Spare Change News has relied on volunteers and college interns to write and edit the paper. The vision for the future is much different -- a paid staff to put out a new paper on a weekly basis, as opposed to the current biweekly schedule, so our vendors have a fresh news product to sell; to expand and grow as an important source of news; to provide more training in computer skills and writing and editing; to increase our role in serving the underserved; and to continue to speak out loudly on important public policy issues. The recent hiring of an executive director, Vincent Flanagan, is a huge step toward that goal. So is the hiring of our brand new editor, the Rev. Osagyefo Sekou, an accomplished writer and orator who brings a wonderful energy and enthusiasm to the job.

Each of us at Spare Change News appreciates your reading and supporting the paper; you are very much a part of our mission, Helping People Help Themselves. We're working hard to give you a paper that matters and that makes a difference, and we'll continue to make strides.