29 October 2012

Pop artist Gotye makes it from Australia to Japan and USA

Belgian-born Australian musician Wouter De Backer – aka Gotye – has achieved the sort of success that prompts parodies and one-hit wonder tags. In an interview, he talks about keeping control of his music while the world is watching, and listening.  

Both The Big Issue Japan and Streetvibes in the US republished the story, which was originally produced by their colleagues from The Big Issue Australia. 

The Big Issue Japan featured the interview in both Japanese and English, to encourage their readers to learn foreign languages. See here the pages of The Big Issue Japan.

Der Musiker Wouter De Backer alias Gotye, der in Belgien geboren wurde und in Australien lebt, schwimmt gerade auf einer Welle des Erfolgs. In einem Interview spricht er darüber, wie er die Kontrolle über seine Musik behält, während die Welt zusieht und zuhört.  Die Magazine The Big Issue Japan und Streetvibes aus den USA druckten den Artikel, der  zuerst von den Kollegen des Big Issue Australia produziert worden war. 

The Big Issue Japan brachte das Interview sowohl auf Japanisch als auch auf Englisch, um seine Leser zu ermutigen, Fremdsprachen zu lernen. Hier sehen Sie die Seiten des Big Issue Japan.

25 October 2012

World’s first digital street paper to launch in Manchester

The Big Issue in the North is launching a digital alternative to its printed magazine. The first digital street paper edition goes on sale in Manchester on Monday 29th October and will roll out across the North of England in the coming weeks.

A vendor shows the digital access card in Manchester.
Street papers, like The Big Issue in the North magazine, exist to help homeless and vulnerably housed people earn a dignified income. From the first-ever street paper in New York in the late 80s, the concept has grown into a global movement against poverty and social injustice – with over 120 different titles now published in 40 countries.

In the past year alone, street papers have helped more than 28,000 homeless vendors to earn an income, but with media consumption patterns rapidly shifting from print to digital, UK-based charity INSP (International Network of Street Papers) has been looking for a way to take the concept into the 21st century and provide a lifeline to the growing numbers of urban homeless.

In the month that US magazine Newsweek announced to scrap its print edition and Financial Times said that its digital subscriptions had surpassed print ones, INSP believes it has found a model that is unique to street papers.

To retain the crucial vendor-buyer contact on the streets, customers choosing the digital version will buy an access card with a QR code which can be scanned or entered onto smartphones, tablets or desktop computers. The device will then download a digital edition containing all the content from the magazine. The new digital street paper will allow street vendors to offer their customers two options – print or digital – priced equally.

Following this initial pilot in Manchester, another of INSP street papers – StreetWise in Chicago will also pilot a digital edition. If successful, the digital technology will be made available to all 122 street papers in the INSP network.

INSP’s Director Lisa Maclean believes the content of street papers is key to the success of the model:

“Street paper vendors aren’t selling just anything – they’re selling news and information. Street papers, both in print and digital form, can challenge public perceptions of poverty and social injustice. With more than 6 million readers globally, they provide a powerful platform for unheard voices. We believe this project has the potential to become not only one of the world’s largest paid digital media platforms, but one of the most important, too.”

Caroline Price, Director, at The Big Issue in the North said:

“It is hoped that the digital edition will help the magazine, which has been in circulation in Manchester since 1992, continue to be a success. Manchester is the right place to trial the world's first digital street newspaper; we are a digitally savvy city with a vibrant young community who we hope will support this initiative. This is not about replacing our traditional print magazine; it is about moving with the times and giving people a choice in how they read the magazine.”

“The Big Issue in the North’s primary aim is to provide homeless people with the opportunity to earn an income. In order to continue to do this, we need to ensure we appeal to a broad range of readers, including people who choose to read newspapers and magazines in digital format.”

Street paper vendor Craig currently lives in a hostel in Manchester. Following job loss and suffering depression, he landed at The Big Issue in the North. He has been selling for eight months and believes the digital move is a good idea:

“The magazine has to be competitive and if people stopped buying the magazine we’d all be out of work. Hopefully the new digital edition will reach a new audience. It’s also a good move for vendors as the new cards are easier to carry around than the magazine. I hope the cards increase sales – that’ll be good for everybody.”

To take a look at a sample issue of the magazine visit www.binorthdigital.com and type in the following access code: RC8XPFAG/2352

Development of the pilot has been supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and through pro bono support from Grant Gibson of the Herald & Times Group and David Craik of Bright Signals, with digital design and development by the team at 999 Design Group.

22 October 2012

Zambia's cheap liquor crackdown reported in Malawi

The Big Issue Malawi intrigued its readers with a story on booze from neighbouring Zambia. In a move to crackdown on alcohol abuse, Zambia’s government has banned the manufacture and sale of liquor in small plastic sachets commonly known as ‘Tujilijili’. Cheap, widely available and easily concealed, these popular ‘killer sachets’ are blamed for an increase in alcohol dependency amongst young adults and poor communities. 

The story was also picked up by BISS in Germany, Surprise in Switzerland and The Big Issue South Africa. INSP’s development content partner Inter Press Service also ran the story, which is still available for members to download from the News Service in both English and German

The Big Issue Malawi beeindruckte seine Leser mit einem Artikel über Alkoholmissbrauch im Nachbarland Sambia. Um dem steigenden Missbrauch Herr zu werden, hat die sambische Regierung die Herstellung und den Verkauf von Alkohol in kleinen Plastiksäckchen, die als „Tujilijili“ bekannt sind, verboten. Diese beliebten „Killer-Säckchen“, die billig, überall verfügbar und leicht zu verstecken sind, werden für den Anstieg der Alkoholabhängigkeit unter jungen Erwachsenen und in armen Gegenden verantwortlich gemacht. 

Auch BISS aus Deutschland, Surprise aus der Schweiz und The Big Issue South Africa brachten die Story, genauso wie der Inter Press Service, ein Partner des INSP.

16 October 2012

INSP chair Serge Lareault receives prestigious award

Serge Lareault, managing director of street paper L’Itinéraire in Montréal, Canada and chairperson of INSP, has received the Persillier-Lachapelle Career Achievement Award from the health and social services network of Quebec, Canada.

The Persillier-Lachapelle Career Achievement Award pays tribute to individuals who have dedicated themselves to the development and improvement of services offered in the health and social services network. It recognizes personal commitment emanating from both health institutions and community organizations. The award was handed to him by the Minister of Health and Social services, Réjean Hébert, during a ceremony held in Quebec City on 11th October 2012.

The INSP chairman was awarded for his 19 years of commitment to Groupe L’Itinéraire where he launched a street paper namely L’Itinéraire. The paper was based on the idea to help homeless people get off the streets and regain some controls in their lives by giving them a unique job opportunity to become a vendor of the publication. Through the work of the street paper, Serge Lareault has achieved a social enterprise that gives opportunities for those without a home to change their lives by themselves.

Today, L’Itinéraire is being read by more than 60 000 Montrealers and integrate about 200 people every week through face-to-face communication among the readers and vendors. 

Since 2006, Serge Lareault has been leading INSP, a network that connects over 120 newspapers in 40 countries and supports about 10 000 homeless people every month. During his presidency, INSP has become a leader organisation fighting against poverty and homelessness and been recognized by the United Nations and the European Union. 

Watch how Serge Lareault has set up L’Itinéraire and his passion for street papers here.

15 October 2012

Big Issue UK's got an eye on any company leaving people high and dry

The UK street paper has launched a new column Eye On You to help out the readers who have issues with any company or organisation.

Perhaps your local council has dug up your local playing field. Maybe the government has cut your benefits or some shady business has run off with your money. Whatever it is, tell The Big Issue UK and they will investigate it for you.

For example, their first piece exposed the unfolding scandal involving ATOS, a French company currently testing disabled people’s ability to work. Fail the test and your benefits are cut. Too many people were being unfairly declared fit to work and so we stepped in to keep our eye on ATOS.

So if you have something you want The Big Issue UK to investigate, write to jasper.hamill@bigissue.com

They will do their best to help you out!

Ukraine's topless activists featured in Megafon

The topless activists of Ukraine’s Femen women's rights group made name in Norway. Street paper Megafon ran a story about the group, whose eye-catching antics have made them the cover girls of international feminist protest. 


The story was first published ahead of the Euro-2012 soccer tournament, where the group planned to take action. It later featured in shorter version on INSP’s monthly news pack ‘INSPiring the World’, where Megafon picked it up. The Norwegian street paper also features a selection of other short stories from around the world on their monthly international pages.

Die oben ohne Aktivisten der ukrainischen Femen Frauenrechtsgruppe machte Schlagzeilen in Norwegen. Straßenzeitung „Megafon“ schrieb eine Geschichte über die Gruppe, deren außergewöhnlichen Mätzchen sie zu den Covergirls der internationalen feministischen Protest gemacht haben.

 Die Geschichte wurde erstmals im Vorfeld der Euro-2012 Fußballturniers veröffentlicht, in der die Gruppe plante, Maßnahmen zu ergreifen. Später erschien die Geschichte in kürzeren Versionen auf der monatlichen INSP News pack „INSPiring the World“, von „Megafon“ es übernahm. Die norwegische Straßenzeitung bietet auch auf ihre monatlichen internationalen Seiten eine Auswahl von anderen Kurzgeschichten aus der ganzen Welt an.