28 March 2013

Thank you and farewell to Danielle

Our News Service Editor Danielle Batist has moved on from INSP. We would like to thank her for the amazing contribution that she made to the development of the INSP News Service and for all her hard work, enthusiasm and dedication over the past three years.

Danielle's street paper passion began seven years ago, during an internship at The Big Issue Namibia. Shortly after that, she came on board with INSP as our first-ever news service intern. During that time she helped to improve the quality and accessibility of the news service, which helped us to secure funding for the editorial position and a brand new website.

As editor, Danielle supported editors across the network and also worked with new members on their editorial development. She was also was responsible for a range of amazing 'exclusives' - including the famous Dalai Lama interview - as well as in-depth network collaborations on war veterans and the global recession. She also reported exclusive on-the-ground stories from the Homeless World Cup, on poverty and development in India; and from South Sudan ahead of the historic country split.

Danielle will be missed by INSP staff and by street paper members, but we all wish her the very best for the future. If you'd like to stay in touch with Danielle, please contact Maree who will pass messages on - m.aldam(at)street-papers.org.

25 March 2013

Art by Scottish war veterans printed in Japan

The Big Issue Japan
Every year, a small but significant number of soldiers leave the Armed Forces plagued by psychological war wounds. In Scotland, art therapy combats the stigma surrounding mental illness and helps veterans find peace. Former INSP intern Laura Smith interviewed ex-soldiers turned artists for her piece ‘Art helps heal war’s invisible wounds’.

The Big Issue Japan printed the feature, together with some of the veterans’ art work, in its magazine.

Kunstwerke schottischer Kriegsveteranen in Japan gedruckt

Jedes Jahr verläßt eine kleine aber signifikante Anzahl von Soldaten die Streitkräfte wegen psychologischer Kriegsverletzungen. In Schottland kämpft Kunsttherapie gegen die Stigmatisierung psychischer Erkrankungen und hilft Veteranen dabei, Ihre Seelenruhe wiederzufinden. Die ehemalige INSP Praktikantin Laura Smith interviewte für ihren Artikel "Kunst hilft unsichtbare Kriegsverletzungen zu heilen" Ex-Soldaten, die zu Künstlern wurden.
The Big Issue Japan druckt den Artikel, zusammen mit einigen Kunstwerken der Veteranen, in seinem Magazin.

18 March 2013

Exclusive 'Stik' art in The Big Issue

Stik paints wearing sunglasses, to maintain his anonymity
Big Issue vendors became art dealers recently when prints by the street artist 'Stik' were given away exclusively with The Big Issue UK.

75,000 prints were produced in four colours: red, blue, yellow and orange, and were given away for free with every copy sold. Some enterprising readers then sold their prints on eBay, with sets of four selling for up to £60.

Working anonymously, Stik is often described as 'the new Banksy' and his iconic stick figures can be seen throughout London. Whilst his work sells for £6,000 at auction and can be found hanging in the homes of celebrities such as Elton John, Chris Martin and Tinie Tempah, homelessness is a matter close to his heart as just two years ago, he himself was living on the streets.

Stik conceived and self-funded The Big Issue project as a way give back to friends who are still homeless. Speaking to the Big Issue he said: “My figures don’t have mouths, they are silent. Most homeless people are invisible as well as silent. The Big Issue gives them a voice. The Big Issue is a great organisation which helps so many people to get back on their feet. I wanted to give something back to my friends who are still homeless.”

The project received a fantastic response from the public, with one enthusiast buying eight copies of the street paper. But beyond just sales, it also encouraged many people to interact with their vendors, with one reader commenting: “Even though I have purchased The Big Issue in the past, I have probably walked past and ignored Andy more times than I care to think about.” Another added “I love the fact that I have been walking around actively seeking Big Issue vendors."

Dustin Hoffman is street paper cover star

A Dustin Hoffman interview with The Big Issue UK was republished by 9 other street papers.

The Big Issue Australia
The screen legend recently had his debut as a director in Quartet, a movie about retired members of an operatic quartet. In the interview, he talked candidly about sex, drugs, celebrity - and how Dennis Potter changed his life.

Hecho en Buenos Aires,
The piece got translated by INSP volunteers and was circulated through our news service.

The Big Issue South Africa, Megaphon in Austria, Lice v lice in Macedonia, StreetWise in Chicago, Hecho en Buenos Aires in Argentina, Soziale Welt and bodo in Germany, Straatnieuws in the Netherlands and The Big Issue Australia all republished the story. His famous face on the cover helped street paper vendors boost sales around the world.

The Big Issue South Africa
Dustin Hoffman ist der Cover-Star auf vielen Straßenmagazinen.

Neun andere Straßenzeitungen druckten ein Interview, das Hoffman mit dem „Big Issue UK“ geführt hat.

Die Filmlegende feierte vor kurzem ihr Debüt als Regisseur des Films „Quartett“, der von vier Opernsängern im Ruhestand handelt. In dem Interview spricht er offen über Sex, Drogen, Ruhm – und wie Dennis Potter sein Leben verändert hat.

„The Big Issue South Africa“, „Megaphon“ aus Österreich, „Lice v Lice“ aus Mazedonien, „StreetWise“ aus Chicago, „Hecho en Buenos Aires“ aus Argentinien, „Soziale Welt“ und „bodo“ aus Deutschland, „Straatnieuws“ aus den Niederlanden und „The Big Issue Australia“ haben den Artikel alle gedruckt, und viele machten ihn sogar zu ihrer Titelgeschichte. 

Macadam, France
Lice v lice, Macedonia

15 March 2013

INSP welcomes new Ambassadors: author Irvine Welsh and journalist Mariane Pearl

INSP's new ambassadors featured 
in street papers worldwide. 
The International Network of Street Papers today announced two new high-profile Ambassadors to support its work fighting homelessness through social enterprise and independent media.

Scottish Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh and French journalist Mariane Pearl join the charity’s group of esteemed figureheads, which now includes Brazilian author Paulo Coelho; and Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow.

INSP supports The Big Issue magazine in the UK and over 100 other similar projects in 40 countries worldwide, helping them with start-up support, staff and vendor training, funding, networking and campaigns to raise awareness of their work. INSP also provides editorial support through a unique online news service for its street papers. With a combined readership of 6 million people per edition, the network attracts the attention of famous names, such Prince William and the Dalai Lama. Interviews with famous names create a huge boost in sales for homeless vendors worldwide.

Irvine Welsh’s appointment as INSP Ambassador followed his popular interview for INSP’s news service where he described the street paper concept as “one of the great social achievements of the last 20 years”. The interview was published by street papers in South Africa, Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, Germany and the US- including in StreetWise in Welsh’ home city of Chicago.

Asked about supporting INSP, Welsh said: “I became an INSP ambassador not because I'm disadvantaged in the current housing market, but privileged by it; I see so many friends struggling to keep a home together, or trying to rebuild one. They deserve the same rights that I enjoy. Homelessness issues are now sadly ubiquitous across the western world, and very much a product of the weak priorities our political leadership has set. The social aspect of housing policy is almost existent, but is in reality how people aspire to live; a home, family, friends, within a community and a concerned citizenry”.

Having faced one of the most unimaginable challenges in her life, Mariane Pearl has come to symbolise hope and courage for humankind across the world. She spoke to INSP journalists at the end of last year about being thrust into the limelight when her husband, Daniel Pearl and father-to-be of their unborn child was kidnapped and killed by a Pakistan militant Islamic fundamentalist group in 2002. The interview was published by INSP street papers from the US to The Big Issue in Japan.

Speaking of her new appointment, Pearl said: “I am delighted to become an ambassador of INSP. Journalism should always be on the side of the people, it should be in the streets and for the streets. Journalism that helps citizens climb out of poverty by sharing information and stories is, in that sense, the purest form of practice.”

INSP’s Executive Director Lisa Maclean said: "Having the support of highly respected writers like Mariane Pearl and Irvine Welsh is a huge help to our work supporting street papers – not only as social enterprise solution to poverty – but also as independent media. Worldwide, our street papers employ more than 28,000 homeless people each year, but in a changing media and economic landscape, it’s so important that we have the support of people who can help raise awareness of the positive work and the impact of our network”.

12 March 2013

NYC and the digital future of street papers

At the end of last year, INSP was invited to be the beneficiary of the 'Master Class' at Brand Perfect's Adventures in Publishing event in New York. Our Development Manager Maree went to New York in February to present the brief  'How can we take the street paper network into the digital age?' and work with conference delegates on ideas for the future of the concept.

Maree said:
It was an amazing experience. I knew from the start that that it would be a great opportunity for INSP, but it really exceeded my expectations. 
My sleep deprived brain was woken up on the day by blizzard-like conditions on the way to Times Square, and then by the truly inspiring presentations from Katrina Dodd (Contagious Magazine), Wyatt Mitchell (The New Yorker), Cameron Connors (Condé Nast) and Jenn Eldin (American Express).

In the Master Class, the group clicked right away with INSP's mission, our challenges and the fact that the homeless vendor is at the heart of everything we do. I was incredibly proud to hear a group of great creative minds discussing the INSP brief and instantly coming up with ideas – some that we've half formed ourselves already and others that we hadn't even considered.
I left the Condé Nast building with the feeling that despite the various challenges we face at the moment, we're on the right track and that the street paper model will be relevant in future decades as long as we think creatively and keep the vendor right there at the heart of everything. 
I spent the next few days in a cold and snowy Manhattan with a head full of ideas.

You can read more about our ideas for digital street paper innovations here on the Brand Perfect website

11 March 2013

South African grandmother and vendor Alice in spotlights

Alice's story in Straatjournaal
For Alice Pina Ncata, who sells The Big Issue magazine in Cape Town, South Africa, it was a conscious choice to give up her job in the late 80’s. That’s when she went into full-time activism against the apartheid government. But just when South Africa’s freedom was around the corner, she lost her own in a dramatic accident. Now a vendor for The Big Issue South Africa, Alice shared her story with street papers around the world through the INSP News Service. The piece got translated from English into German and Dutch and ten street papers republished it.

Straatjournaal in The Netherlands ran it as a double paged spread. StreetWise, Groundcover News, Street Roots and Real Change in the US also published it, as did Surprise in Switzerland, and Ireland’s Big Issue, The Big Issue Korea, The Big Issue in the North (UK), and of course Alice’s home paper, The Big Issue South Africa.

Alice aus Südafrika, Straßenzeitungsverkäuferin und Großmutter, im Rampenlicht

Alice Pina Ncata, die das Magazin „The Big Issue“ in Kapstadt, Südafrika, verkauft, traf in den späten 1980ern bewusst die Entscheidung, ihren Job aufzugeben und sich ganz dem Kampf gegen die Apartheid zu widmen. Aber gerade als die Freiheit für Südafrika zum Greifen nah war, verlor sie wegen eines dramatischen Unfalls ihre eigene. Jetzt verkauft Alice die Straßenzeitung „The Big Issue South Africa“. Ihre Geschichte teilte sie durch den INSP News Service mit Kollegen aus aller Welt. Der Artikel wurde vom Englischen ins Deutsche und Niederländische übersetzt und erschien in zehn Straßenzeitungen.

„Straatjournaal“ aus den Niederlanden widmete dem Artikel eine Doppelseite. „StreetWise“, „Groundcover News“, „Street Roots“ und „Real Change“ aus den USA druckten ihn genauso wie „Surprise“ aus der Schweiz, „Ireland’s Big Issue“, „The Big Issue Korea“, „The Big Issue in the North“ aus Großbritannien und natürlich Alices „eigenes“ Magazin, „The Big Issue South Africa“.

8 March 2013

City Council pledges funding for INSP's Glasgow HQ

Glasgow City Council, supported by council leader Gordon Matheson, has agreed to support our work to fight homelessness in Scotland and around the world.

The Council has awarded us a one-year grant to support our headquarters in in Glasgow, with a further two-year grant offered in principle. Councillor Gordon Matheson said: “INSP is one of the world’s largest social enterprise networks and it is based here in Glasgow. We are immensely proud to host such a dynamic organisation which does such good work supporting street papers – like Scotland’s Big Issue – and 14,000 homeless vendors worldwide. The launch of the new street paper in Greece – which was given significant support and guidance by INSP – is the latest example of how INSP helps some of our communities’ most vulnerable people, around the world, as well as in Glasgow.”

Our Executive Director Lisa Maclean said: "We are absolutely delighted that Glasgow City Council will be supporting INSP over the next three years. Alongside the Lord Provost – one of our Patrons – we look forward to developing our partnership with the Council, to have a significant impact on street papers and homeless people in Scotland and worldwide. Glasgow City Council joins the Scottish Government as core supporter of INSP and we are eager to develop partnerships with other like-minded partners and supporters for the benefit of homeless people everywhere”.

The pledge of support from the Council follows a particularly successful period for us. As well as being named ‘Social Enterprise Supporter of the Year’ at both the Scottish and UK Social Enterprise Awards last year,we recently learned that we have been short-listed in the European Social Innovation Competition – winners to be announced in May.

7 March 2013

Croatia’s street paper Ulične svjetiljke covered in mainstream press

Cover of Ulične svjetiljke

Danas, one of the few independent newspapers in Serbia, recently published an article about Ulične svjetiljke, Croatia’s street paper. Here’s a translated summary:

Ulične svjetiljke, meaning ‘Streetlights’ is the first magazine in Croatia that focuses on homelessness and other social issues. Sold by homeless vendors in Rijeka and Zagreb the magazine aims to provide dignified employment and educate readers.

Ulične svjetiljke has a cover price of 8 kuna. The vendor buys for half the price and makes a profit, while the street paper uses its half to print the next issue. The magazine is published every 2-3 months and has a circulation of 15,0000 per edition. All the people involved in editing and publishing are volunteers, including vendors themselves. Currently, about 30 vendors are selling the street paper.

Mile Mrvalj is one of them. Spending his days on the icy streets, he still considers himself an optimist.

"I felt like a stranger in my own city,” Mile says about the reason for leaving his hometown Sarajevo and moving to Zagreb.

When the Balkan war started, he had a well-paid job and a comfortable life. Unfortunately his mother was diagnosed with cancer and he therefore decided not to leave the city.

After the end of the war, things had changed for Mile. Because he is a Croat, he received a disciplinary leave from the company that he worked for. To make a living, he started his own interior design company. As he now says, he has never been a business man. To get his company started, he took a mortgage and eventually lost all his belongings, including his house and other assets.

He was upset with the primitivism that he had encountered and decided to leave Sarajevo. His philosophy was: “it doesn't matter where I am homeless: London, Sarajevo or Zagreb. Only in Zagreb they won't victimize me for who I am.”
One of Ulične svjetiljke's vendors

And so he started as a vendor more than a year ago. Before that he had lived on collecting empty bottles for recycling. A tough job with lots of competition. “On a good day I made 20 kuna,” he says.

Now he has regular customers who buy the street magazine from him. ”It is a great joy to see so many helping souls round and such a great amount of good will among Zagrebians.”

Mile says that in the first month of the new issue he can earn up to 1,000 kuna. After that, sales go down. When that happens, he looks for other ad hoc jobs like helping in removals or chopping wood for winter time. He is willing to help with any other household duties just to earn some money.

But it is not the money that is the biggest problem. His documents have expired and he is unable to renew them without providing a permanent address. It’s a vicious circle because without a valid ID card nobody will employ him either.

He is currently negotiating with a landlord to rent a 1,000 kuna room with the possibility of confirming his permanent stay. He hopes that this will resolve his biggest problem and help him to get his life in order again.

Translated by Aneta Gancarczyk
Edited by Katrin Schmoll

You can follow Ulične svjetiljke on Facebook.

4 March 2013

'Equal Norway'

The first nation-wide edition of =Norge
The Erlik [equal] foundation established Norway’s first street paper in 2005 with =Oslo. Following the success of their first paper, they quickly expanded to other cities with = Fredrikstad then = Drammen, Buskerud =, = Østfold = Inland, = Vestfold and Telemark =.

Inspired by the UK’s Big Issue model, the Erlik Foundation have decided to bring all the titles together and publish under one name, =Norge [Erlik Norway / Equal Norway], with only the their flagship =Oslo retaining its original title.

It’s hoped that the move will strengthen the brand, thus providing a more stable working environment for their vendors.  Across the country, =Norge has almost 2,000 vendors. The papers are sold for 50 Krone, half of which is kept by the vendor.

Street papers have a strong presence in Norway, and aside from the =Norge group, Stavanger’s ‘Asfalt’, Bergen’s ‘Megafon’, Trondheim’s ‘Sorgenfri’, Tromsø’s ‘Virkelig’, and Kristiansand’s Gatemagasinet Klar are all members of the INSP network.