31 July 2013

Discussion: surviving in a digital age

With the theme of the day in mind, the discussion groups on the second day of the INSP conference focused on the question: “how do street papers survive in the digital age?”

Delegates were split into five groups to tackle various challenges and opportunities that are emerging from the rapid advancement of digital technology and to discuss its effect on the media landscape. They were asked to keep in mind the questions: What are the needs this technology/approach addresses? What are the related challenges and opportunities? What does the future hold for street papers?

Group 1 focused on the topic of digital subscriptions. Street sales are a priority to all street papers as they are the main source of income for vendors, however the opportunities are plenty when discussing the future use of the web.

John Bird (Big Issue UK)
John Bird (Founder of The Big Issue UK) and Dirk Meerkotter (The Big Issue South Africa) led the discussion on the benefits of subscriptions to reach more remote regions and new groups of readers. Most attendants agreed that it is a good idea to publish extra material on the internet, rather than just the magazine itself - to "add rather than duplicate", as John Bird put it. The Big Issue South Africa’s innovative digital subscription app inspired the group - what if there was an INSP app in the future that gave readers access to street papers from all over the world?

Since the demand for digital subscriptions seems to be underestimated in many places, there are many opportunities: tokens could be sold on the streets and vendors who either can't or do not want to sell on the streets could get an alternative chance to interact with the readers. The sky is the limit when the street papers enter the digital era and John Bird emphasized that "innovation is a bit like justice - it doesn't exist unless it can be seen being done".

Christian Lissman (BI in the North) and
Steven Persson (BI Australia)
Groups 2a and 2b, chaired by Christian Lisseman (Communication Team Leader at The Big Issue in the North, UK), Steven Persson (INSP Secretary and CEO of The Big Issue Australia), Fay Selvan (Group Chief Executive at The Big Issue in the North, UK) and Alan Attwood (Editor of The Big Issue Australia), debated the big digital question: print vs. digital. Street papers face a unique problem in adapting to digital technology as the vendor-customer transaction on the street is the core of the street paper model. The discussion group looked at various trials and pilot schemes and discussed their potential.

In particular they looked at the INSP digital street paper pilot. In partnership with The Big Issue in the North, customers could get a digital copy of the popular street paper on their phone by buying a QR code card from a vendor, priced equally to the print copy so that the vendor’s income is still assured. This has since been replicated by The Big Issue Australia.

The discussion participants discussed its success and possible improvements. "A digital copy is a first step, but it's not the future," Ilse Weiss from Strassenkreuzer said.

Alan Attwood (BI Australia) and
Fay Selvan (BI in the North).
Christian Lisseman (UK) underlined that a digital version of a street paper is not meant to be a replacement for the printed version. It's rather to win more readers, in particular readers who don't want to buy the printed version.

Fay Selvan explained: "For me the experiment with the cards was very important, because it told us: if we're selling a digital version, it has to offer much more than a simple PDF copy of the print."

Birgit Müller (Hinz&Kunzt, Germany) wants to explore the cross-media opportunities an e-paper has to offer. In her opinion the digital version has to be completely different: "We could be very unique in our electronic media. We should highlight the opportunities of digitalisation rather than shouting 'Oh, we are all dying!'"

The participants discussed the advantages
and disadvantages of a digital street paper.
In the end all participants agreed to change the discussion's title to "print and digital". Hildegard Denninger (BISS, Germany) sees opportunities for the vendors' careers and personal development: "We will always have print, but we should also work with the digital – as it offers new job options for vendors, maybe part time in the beginning."

Group 3 focused on the possibilities of cashless payments. With credit and debit cards being widely accepted, an increasing number of people, especially younger, potential buyers, no longer carry cash, costing vendors valuable business. Discussion leaders Amy Roe (Editor of Real Change, USA) and Brittany Langmeyer (Publisher at StreetWise, USA) looked at a pilot scheme launched by Chicago-based street paper StreetWise, in partnership with digital payment experts at PayPal, which involved customers being able to pay for the magazine by smartphone.

Other possibilities to pay without cash are via text messages (the price for the street paper is charged by your telephone company and appears on your bill) or via NFC (Near Field Communication): you pay for a product by putting your smartphone equipped with a special chip in close proximity to a reader. However, there are some challenges for electronic payment: the vendor's willingness to learn about new technologies, the fees Apple and Google charge for apps in their app stores, the fact that many vendors prefer to get their money instantly - which is not always guaranteed with cashless payment - and, last but not least, the limited battery life of smartphones.
Amy Roe (Real Change) and
Brittany Langmeyer (StreetWise) lead through
the discussion group"cashless payment".

Erlend D. Paxal, Manager of the paper Sorgenfri from Norway, highlighted a crucial aspect: "All those systems we talk about right now are quite complicated to use, both for the vendor and the customer. What we really need are payment options which are as easy to use as cash or even easier - otherwise we will deter customers from buying our papers".

Group 4 discussions centred on digital marketing, and the benefits that an effective social media campaign can bring. Aaron Israelson (Editor-in-Chief of Faktum, Sweden), Patricia Merkin (Director of Hecho en BsAs, Argentina) and Maree Aldam (Development Manager at INSP) looked at how street papers can reach new readers and increase sustainability at minimum cost with the use of social media and other digital marketing tools.

Swedish street paper Faktum demonstrated this in 2012 with the launch of Faktum Hotels, a website where people can ‘book’ rooms in a homeless hotel – ‘amenities’ include filthy mattresses and flattened cardboard boxes – with their booking money being donated to the paper. The campaign received widespread coverage in Sweden and around the world, increasing both the magazine’s profile and awareness about homelessness, a perfect example of how social media can be used in powerful and innovative ways.

At the end of the day's discussion session delegates from each group reported back to the conference at a feedback session, allowing other groups to hear the main points covered in each topic.

Olympic Park

At the end of conference Day 1, the delegates were invited
 to the world famous Olympic Park...
 After a long first day of networking, sharing ideas and debating street paper issues at the INSP annual conference, delegates were invited to have dinner at the world famous Olympic Park.

The Munich landmark was built for the 1972 Olympic Games and has since become a tourist hot spot, featuring world class sports facilities, a shopping mall, and an open air cinema.

...where they enjoyed dinner
 in a relaxed atmosphere.

Over dinner the delegates continued networking, chatting about their street papers and exchanging impressions from their conference day. They enjoyed the friendly atmosphere on a perfect summer evening in Munich.

 After dinner, the participants were taken to Olympic Park’s open-air Theatron where, surrounded by the amazing views of the park, there was a showing of two films created by street paper BISS. First the audience watched a short documentary about people who make their living by collecting returnable bottles that BISS used to recruit new vendors. The second film, "Hotel BISS", was shown.

Hotel BISS was a project started in 2007 by BISS to turn a former women and youth’s prison at Neudeck into a 72 room four-star hotel where 40 young people in particular social difficulty (some of them former inmates at Neudeck) would work and live while they received vocational training. The first class hotel was also to have 11 additional rooms for housing the elderly.

Hildegard Denninger (BISS, Germany)
opened the showing of her movie
"Hotel BISS".
Unfortunately, after massive fundraising efforts lasting over four years, in 2011 BISS’s bid for the listed building was rejected by the Free State of Bavaria in favour of a commercial company, destroying an innovative social business before it began.

The Hotel BISS movie charted the hopeful beginnings and ultimate failure of the project. At a time when street papers are changing their model and gearing it towards social enterprise and social development (both of which are new award categories at the INSP awards at the end of the conference), the film gave delegates a lot to think and talk about.

30 July 2013

Workshop: street paper exchange

Along with networking and panel discussions, the first day of the INSP conference also featured the street paper exchange, a range of practical workshops focusing on the main areas of street paper operations.

The street paper exchange is not just for new and smaller street papers to get advice from more established operations, but also for the established members to discuss how they can continue to succeed and adapt to the changing media landscape.

The workshop is split into five groups, each focusing on different aspects of the street paper model with topics and discussion geared towards specific expertise within the industry.

Workshop 1: support programs and
vendor support services.
Group 1 focused on social support programs and vendor support services. Led by social worker Johannes Denninger (Distribution at BISS, Germany) and National Sales Manager at The Big Issue UK, Des Sharples, the group discussed how street paper sales affect the lives of the vendors that sell them. Vendor support is at the heart of the work of street papers and the circulation of papers directly impacts the vendors’ income and personal development. The session tackled various questions from street paper distribution and pitch management to sales training, incentive schemes and other social support program.

Among the issues discussed was the challenge of vendor motivation, especially retaining vendors after they first sign up for the job. The participants agreed that incentives are the most important tool in vendor motivation. Incentives could be giving the vendors free copies of the magazines for them to sell or merchandise, such as t-shirts or hats, once they reach certain sale numbers. It was also suggested that joining forces with other projects, such as music or sports groups for the vendors, can be a motivation boost.

Group 2 was aimed at the street papers’ editorial staff, with experienced editors Alan Attwood (Editor of The Big Issue Australia) and Anlov Mathiesen (CEO and Editor-in-Chief of =Norge) leading a discussion on editorial development.

Workshop 2: Lead by
Alan Attwood (The Big Issue Australia)
and Anlov Mathiesen (=Norge, Norway)
How do street papers ensure that their existing readership remains interested and that they continue to attract new readers? All delegates agreed that the front cover of their paper was the most important element in the selling process. Bambi, Dalai Lama or politician? There were different opinions on which cover works the best. Alan Attwood argued: "Celebrities sell". Thomas Anthun Nielson (Megafon, Norway) described a different experience: "It's the brand that matters, not the content– I put my ex-girlfriend on the cover, just for fun!"
Workshop 2: Editorial development.

Delegates discussed what makes street papers unique in the media landscape and shared ideas on what kind of content street paper readers want. Alan Attwood encouraged editors to integrate the vendors' experiences and feedback into the editorial process while maintaining a high quality of content. "Once I got a wake-up call from a vendor who told me: 'You have to stop indulging yourself! I want to sell that bloody thing!'" The workshop also raised questions about the ethics and responsibilities of street papers. Is it possible, or even desirable, for street paper editors to be journalists and activists at the same time? "We don't want to be left-wing, but we are definitely activists," Birgit Müller (Hinz&Kunzt, Germany) said.

Leaders of workshop 3:
Patricia Merkin (Hecho en Bs As, Argentina)
and Hildegrad Denninger (BISS, Germany)
Group 3 focused on strategic partnerships and fundraising. As a result of the global economic downturn, fundraising has become increasingly difficult in many countries, as more organisations compete for a smaller pot of funds. Hildegard Denninger (Managing Director of BISS, Germany) and Patricia Merkin (Managing Director and Editor of Hecho en BsAs, Argentina) spoke of the importance of creativity in fundraising and using new tools and ideas to increase support. Sustainability of the street paper model was also at the forefront of discussion, with developing strategic partnerships to secure long term support being pointed to as a key element for sustainability. The participants shared their ideas of raising money for the street papers, such as sponsorship for the vendors to provide their employment, micro-credits or the advertisement-acquiring.

Workshop 4: Generating our own income.
Group 4, also for fundraisers, worked on generating independent income for street papers. Amy Roe (Editor of Real Change, USA) and Gabriele Koch (INSP Director and Fundraiser at Hinz&Kunzt, Germany) were leading the discussion of how street papers can increase their income. Adjusting the price and frequency of the magazine were mentioned as possible measures, but the discussion went further: how about creating special issues that could be sold beside the magazine? Do subscriptions really need to be a taboo? And how should it all be financed?
Leaders of workshop 4:
Amy Roe (Real Change, USA) and
Gabi Koch (Hinz&Kunzt, Germany)
Group members were eager to share their ideas - one delegate wanted to create a calendar, while another was thinking about cooperating with INSP and well-known musicians. Another was brainstorming on how to create "social street maps" (maps where you could find all the interesting sights in a city, thus trying to understand more of the social difficulties within). All of a sudden Arkady Tyurin  from Put Domoi (Russia) silenced the room: "I would just like to remind that 'impossible' is just an opinion."

Group 5, chaired by Trudy Vlok (INSP Vice-Chair and Managing Director, The Big Issue South Africa) and Steven Persson (INSP Secretary and CEO, The Big Issue Australia), saw the more established papers with large vendor numbers discuss the challenges that they face: be it a decrease in sales, the "distant love" (Almut Maldfeld, Asphalt, Germany) which is often displayed towards street papers, or the fact that papers want to do the very best for their vendors, keeping in mind that they are businesses and not charities.

Trudy and Steven shared their business strategies and talked about how their papers turned into success stories. According to them, building relationships is crucial, as well as having a good distribution network and maximizing your brand (the street paper). In the end, Fay Selvan, Group Chief Executive from The Big Issue in the North (UK), concluded: "The open-minded and can-do-attitude was very nice, as well as the numerous stimulating ideas provided by the speakers. I take away from the workshop that you should always look forward and not to get stuck by what went wrong in the past."

Day 1 round up: staying relevant in a changing world

MC Wim de Preter kicking off Day 1.
Today marked the opening of the 17th annual INSP conference: “INSP-iring street papers in a changing world.”

Serge Lareault (Chairperson of INSP and Executive Director of L’Itinéraire), Lisa Maclean (Executive Director of INSP) and Hildegard Denninger (Managing Director of host street paper, BISS) opened day one of the conference, this year held in Munich, and welcomed delegates from street papers all over the world.

INSP and BISS welcome the delegates.
INSP executive director Lisa Maclean was thrilled that a record number of over 100 delegates attended this year's conference. "We all have a unified goal: supporting our vendors," she said.

"I hope you get some new ideas," Serge Lareault tells the delegates.

Street papers exchange.
The first day of the INSP conference asks the question: how do street papers stay relevant in a changing world? The shift from print to digital media, the economic crisis, and the continuing rise of homelessness are all factors affecting the street paper model and forcing it to adapt. "We are operating in a changing world. Some of our papers are in good shape, others are struggling," Serge sums up the challenge for street papers in the digital age. "It's time to review the business model," he added.

After the introduction and a brief overview of the INSP network, the delegates moved on to the speed networking exercise. Much like its maligned counterpart, speed dating, delegates were paired up into twos and given five minutes to introduce themselves and their street papers before moving on to meet someone new. "It was so fun! It's a really great way to get in touch with  a lot of people and get people talk to each other," said Sean Condon from Megaphone, Canada. His colleague, Jessica Hannon, had the chance to meet a person that was doing the same job as her: "I had the opportunity to learn about the way she's doing her job."

After a quick break, and another chance to show off papers and campaign materials, the first of the conference’s external speakers, Rolf Pfleiderer of TNS Infratest, presented the findings of a survey of street papers in Germany.

Rolf has worked for TNS Infratest, a leading market research company based in Munich, for over 30 years and is currently Director of Media Research. The findings of the survey, conducted earlier this year over 12 cities, helped to give delegates an insightful overview of the street paper context in Germany.
Panel discussion.

Following this was a panel discussion surrounding the day’s central theme: “how do street papers stay relevant in the 21st century?”

Panellists Steven Persson (The Big Issue Australia), Amy Roe (Real Change, USA), Anlov Mathiesen (=Norge, Norway), Hildegard Denninger (BISS, Germany), and speaker Rolf Pfleiderer, chaired by Editor of The Big issue Australia, Alan Attwood, discussed this question. A selection of street papers that have developed innovative approaches to try to ensure that their street paper stays also featured in the discussion.

Participants of the discussion agreed that street papers will continue being relevant. Hildegard Denninger (BISS) is convinced: "Our work has always been very relevant. I'v worked in the normal economics for about twenty years before - and I've never felt doing something more relevant than the street papers." The role of street papers is quite different from the one of mainstream newspapers. Amy Roe (Real Change, USA) underlined that "street papers cover news, although not breaking news." Hildegard agreed that the job of street papers is to provide background stories which deepen your understanding.

Over 100 delegates from all over the
world participate at this year's
INSP conference.
All delegates agreed that they had to work together closer in order to remain sustainable in the digital age. "Street papers may seem small seperately, but as a network we are strong," Shawn Bourdages of L'Itinéraire said.

The first day of the conference also featured the Annual General Meeting. Along with welcoming new members to the network from 2012-13 the meeting also saw INSP Executive Director, Lisa Maclean, give the annual review of the network and a presentation on the future strategies of INSP, outlining its new business plan for 2013-15.

She said: “With some street papers reaching their 20th birthday in 2012, we have seen a general recognition that it is a time to update our business model; we have to look at ways to be more sustainable, more innovative and enterprising. We need to continue working to engage more with our existing readers and supporters and engage with new groups.”

This year the new award categories for social enterprise and social development reflect the changing street paper model.

Round up: training day

The INSP conference kicked off early with an optional training day, comprised of four sessions led by INSP’s supporting street paper members.

The training day provides new, emerging and smaller street papers with the opportunity to learn about the main areas of street paper operations from more experienced street papers.

The training day has formed an additional part to the INSP conference since 2010 in order to cover the practical ‘how to’ of street papers, which the main conference programme does not cover in detail.
Hildegard Denninger (BISS, Germany) and
Steven Persson (Big Issue Australia)

Fifteen delegates from 11 different countries and street papers attended the training day this year.

The first session, facilitated by Hildegard Denninger (managing director of BISS) and Steven Persson (CEO of The Big Issue Australia and INSP Secretary), focused on business development and advertising.

Delegates listened to presentations on the importance of planning and budgeting, ways to improve existing management structures, and determining advertising to editorial ratios, followed by a Q & A session with Hildegard and Steven to discuss these topics and gain valuable insight from more experienced street papers. They both agreed that the financial focus should be mainly on the sale of the street paper and only to a small degree relying on advertisement. "People think advertisement is where the rivers of gold are, but it's not," explains Steven Persson.

Thiago Massagari (OCAS, Brazil),
 Michael Bockhorni (Austria, Non-street paper member)
Chris Alefantis (Shedia, Greece)
The second session focused on fundraising and income generation. Many smaller street papers operate with scant resources and often in challenging cultural, social, economic and political environments so it is important for them to find effective ways to manage money and increase sales.

BISS’s Hildegard Denninger and INSP Chairperson and Executive Director of L’Iinéraire, Serge Lareault, gave presentations on different sources of funding, how to create a strong case for support for your street paper, and how to use social media to raise funds. Hildegard Denninger encourages all the street papers to aim for the very best: "Have the courage to ask for all the things you want, people's willingness to help may surprise you."
Serge Lareault (Chairperson INSP, L'Itineraire)

Allan Attwood's advice:
"Make your magazine more attractive
by putting famous people on the cover!" 
The third session, with presentations by Alan Attwood (Editor of The Big Issue Australia) and Annette Wild (Editor-in-Chief of BISS), covered editorial planning and concepts. They discussed editorial codes of conduct, defining ‘news’ and finding story angles, establishing useful contacts, and how to use valuable resources such as INSP’s own news service. "The rule is: there are no rules!" emphasises Alan Attwood. "A concept may work in Malawi or Sao Paolo but it may not work in your country." He also points out the importance of integrating the vendors in the production process: "The vendors are not only the ones selling your paper, but they are also your marketing people, they know what's going to work and what is not."

Johannes Denninger:
"The vendor has to be
in the middle of all our actions!"
The final session of the day was led by BISS social worker, Johannes Denninger, and L’Itinéraire’s Serge Lareault and concerned social development and distribution services. Johannes Denninger drew a blue point in the middle of a flip chart and reminded: "For everything we do, there is one important principal: the vendor is in the middle!"

At the end of the day all the delegates were satisfied with the outcomes of the discussions. Thiago Massagardi (OCAS, Brazil) is especially happy about the rich exchange of ideas during the training day: "We are all facing the same problems and it is interesting to hear different approaches. Sometimes you have an idea, and you bring it to the conference and someone else adds another idea - and suddenly it's complete."

Tag der deutschsprachigen Straßenzeitungen

Über 30 Straßenzeitungen gibt es im deutschsprachigen Netzwerk.
Vor offiziellem Start der 17. INSP Konferenz in München fanden sich die Mitglieder des deutschsprachigen Straßenzeitungs-Netzwerks zum "Tag der deutschsprachigen Straßenzeitungen zusammen", um sich austauschen und gemeinsam Ideen rund um das Thema „Vertrieb“ zu sammlen.

Ilse Weiß und Gabi Koch führten durch den Tag.
Der „Tag der deutschsprachigen Straßenzeitungen“ wurde von INSP-Geschäftsführerin Lisa Maclean und Ilse Weiß von Straßenkreuzer (Nürnberg) sowie Gabi Koch von Hinz&Kunzt (Hamburg) eröffnet.

Als Einstieg ins Thema berichtete Almut Maldfeld, Geschäftsführerin bei „Asphalt“ (Hannover) über die Reorganisation des Vertriebs ihrer Straßenzeitung und stellte innovative Projekte wie die Fahrradwerkstatt für ihre Verkäufe und das Asphalt-Projekt "Asphalt geht in die Schule" vor, bei dem sie Vorurteile von Schülern gegenüber Obdachlosen abbauen wollen. 

Almut Maldfeld (Asphalt) stellte die
Vertriebsorganistation ihrer Zeitung vor.
Danach war Zeit für Fragen und Diskussionen, bevor sich die Mitglieder zu Kleingruppen zusammenschlossen und relevante Fragen zum Vertrieb diskutierten, u.a. „Was tun bei sinkenden Verkäuferzahlen?“, „Wie kann man Verkäufer motivieren?“ und,  „Wie findet man neue Verkäufer?“.
Es wurde angeregt diskutiert und die Ergebnisse anschließend im Plenum diskutiert.

Die Teilnehmer fanden sich in
Arbeitsgruppen zusammen
"Es ist einfach toll hier zu sein, mit Leuten, die im gleichen Boot sitzen, die sich über die gleichen Dinge Gedanken machen und versuchen, gemeinsam Lösungen zu finden, sagte Frank Hummert vom Straßenkreuzer (Nürnberg). "Diese Dinge hier kriegt man ja nicht mit, wenn man sich immer um das eigene Blatt dreht," fügte sein Straßenkreuzer-Kollege Artur Engler hinzu.

Nach einer gemeinsamen Mittagspause ging es weiter mit einem brisanten Thema: die zahlreichen Straßenzeitungsverkäufer aus Bulgarien und Rumänien. Die zentrale Frage lautete: Wie integriert man diese am besten ins Verkäuferteam und unterstützt sie dabei, sich ein eigenständiges Leben in ihrer neuen Heimat aufzubauen?
Drei Straßenzeitungen stellten ihre Ansätze und Projekte vor: Straßenfeger aus Berlin sprach über seine Ansätze zur Integration von Verkäufern, Straßenkreuzer (Nürnberg) berichtete über die Erfahrungen mit Verkäufern aus Osteuropa und Gastgeber BISS stellte seinen Sprachkurs für ausländische Verkäufer vor.

Es wurde eifrig diskutiert....
Es stellte sich schnell heraus, dass alle Straßenzeitungen ähnliche Erfahrungen mit Verkäufern aus Osteuropa gemacht haben. Die Hauptprobleme in der Zusammenarbeit mit den ausländischen Verkäufern sind Regelverstöße, Schwarzverkauf und die Tatsache, dass das Verkaufen der Zeitung oft von Betteln begleitet wird. Viele Straßenzeitungen wissen sich nicht anders zu helfen, als keine weiteren Verkäufer aus Rumänien und Bulgarien aufzunehmen. "Diese Probleme wird es immer geben," resümierte Hans Steininger von Apropos (Salzburg), "Wenn man bei einer Straßenzeitung arbeitet, muss man sich einfach damit auseinandersetzen. Der Konsens lautete trotzdem: Nein zu Rassismus und offen bleiben. 

....und die Ergebnisse anschließend
im Plenum präsentiert.
 Als Abschluss des Tages standen ein weiteres Mal Kleingruppenarbeiten auf dem Programm. Diskutiert wurde diesmal über die kommende „Vendor week“, eine von INSP organisierte Verkäuferwoche, die im Februar stattfinden wird, über Stadtführungsprojekte bei Straßenmagazinen und über rechtliche und steuerliche Aspekte bei der Produktion von Straßenzeitungen.

Das Feedback am Ende des Tages war durchwegs positiv: Alle Straßenzeitungsmitglieder freuten sich über die konstruktive Diskussion mit den Kollegen und nehmen neue Ideen für die eigene Straßenzeitung mit auf den Weg.

23 July 2013

INSP in Munich for 17th annual conference

In a few days, over 100 delegates from 30 countries will arrive in Munich for a unique conference event which will benefit thousands of homeless worldwide. The 17th annual INSP conference is this year hosted by Munich’s own street paper BISS, as part of its 20th anniversary celebrations.

The conference is hosted in a different city each year, in partnership with a local street paper organisation. The event is specifically tailored to street paper needs and is the only forum where street paper editors, directors and social workers can meet with colleagues from around the world to learn from each other, share experience and form partnerships. For many street paper organisations operating in isolation with limited resources, the conference provides them with vital inspiration, motivation, ideas and support.

This year’s conference- ‘INSP-iring street papers in a changing world’- will focus on street paper sustainability during a period of significant changes in the global economy and media landscape, to ensure that the network continues to support homeless people in the most effective way. Through workshops, discussion groups and panel discussions, delegates will explore how street papers can stay relevant in the 21st century, how they can survive in the digital age, how the face of homelessness is changing and which marginalised groups they could and should be supporting.

Lisa Maclean, INSP’s Executive Director, said: “The world has changed dramatically since the first street paper hit the streets of New York in 1989. The global economic crisis has challenged us to re-visit the street paper business model and adapt to meet the changing needs of our vendors. The way we all consume media is also changing – shifting from print to digital – and it is important that our street papers react to these changes. This week we have an opportunity share innovative ideas and learn from each other. With so many creative, engaged minds in one place, we are sure great things will come from this conference, for the benefit of our 16,000 vendors around the world.”

Serge Lareault, INSP Chairperson and Executive Director of L’Itinéraire street paper in Montréal, said: “We are looking forward to our conference this year in Munich in partnership with one of our most established street papers. BISS leads the way in the street paper network for employing vendors, so we look forward to learning more about this model, and share other examples of best practice from across the network; from Montréal to Munich, from Tokyo to São Paulo. INSP exists to support street papers to enable them to be strong and sustainable and we are looking forward to all the positive results that come from this conference in Munich. Working together as one network, we will be better equipped to tackle some of the challenges we are all facing, ensuring we continue to best serve our vendors’ needs for years to come.”

This year’s conference also includes the ‘International Street Paper Awards’ which highlight the outstanding, independent editorial and social enterprise achievements of street papers; and their contribution to social justice. The winning entries will be announced at a ceremony in Munich on the 1st August. Click here for the finalists.

Event sponsors:

22 July 2013

Canadian bikes make their way to Haiti – and to Japan

The Big Issue Japan
The Franco-Canadian street paper L’Itineraire reported about an organisation in Montreal, Quebec, which recycles bikes and sends them to poor communities in Haiti. The innovative project, which teaches Haitians valuable skills about repairing bikes, has resulted in more children attending school.

The heart-warming story spread as far as Japan where it was republished in the Big Issue Japan. American street papers were interested in the project as well with the Denver Voice and Salt Lake News (Utah) republishing the story about the Canadian bikes.

The story can still be downloaded here.

Denver Voice (USA)
Kanadische Fahrräder für Haiti – und Japan

Die frankokanadische Straßenzeitung L’Itineraire berichtete über eine Organisation aus Montreal, Quebec, die Fahrräder recycelt und armen Gemeinden in Haiti schickt. Das innovative Projekt, das vielen beibringt, wie man Fahrräder repariert, hat dazu geführt, dass mehr Kinder die Schule besuchen.

Die herzerwärmende Geschichte verbreitete sich bis nach Japan, wo sie in der dortigen Big Issue-Ausgabe erschien. Auch amerikanische Straßenzeitungen interessierten sich für das Projekt: Sowohl die Denver Voice als auch die Salt Lake News (Utah) veröffentlichten die Story über die Räder aus Kanada.

Der Artikel steht noch immer hier zum Download bereit.

15 July 2013

INSP story “Usain Bolt: global superstar” republished in Britain, Germany and USA

Arguably the most gifted athlete in the world, Usain Bolt won three gold medals and broke three world records at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in China. He became the first man in Olympic history to win both the 100m and 200m races in world record times, and was part of Jamaica’s 100m relay team that smashed the world record.

In 2012, Bolt created history again at the London Olympic Games by defending all three Olympic titles, and in doing so he achieved legendary status.

In an exclusive interview with INSP’s Amy McKinnon, Bolt talked about sprinting and how he’s committed to helping Jamaica’s children.

The Big Issue in the North (UK), German street paper Strassenfeger, and American street papers One Step Away and Street Wise all republished the INSP article in their magazine.

The article can still be downloaded here.

INSP-Story „Usain Bolt: Weltweiter Superstar“ schafft es in Magazine in Großbritannien, Deutschland und den USA

Er ist möglicherweise der begabteste Leichtathlet der Welt: Bei den Olympischen Spielen in China 2008 gewann Usain Bolt drei Goldmedaillen und brach drei Weltrekorde. Er wurde zum ersten Mann in der Olympischen Geschichte, der sowohl das 100 als auch das 200 Meter Rennen in Weltrekordzeit gewann, und gehörte zum Team der jamaikanischen 100 Meter Staffel, die den Weltrekord pulverisierte. 2012 ging Bolt abermals in die Geschichte ein, als er bei den Olympischen Spielen in London alle drei Olympischen Titel verteidigte und so endgültig zur Legende wurde. In einem Exklusiv-Interview mit Amy McKinnon von INSP spricht Bolt über die Kunst des Rennens, und wie er sich für Kinder in Jamaika einsetzt.

The Big Issue in the North (Großbritannien), „Strassenfeger“ aus Deutschland und die amerikanischen Straßenzeitungen „One Step Away“ und „Street Wise“ veröffentlichten den INSP-Artikel. Der Text steht hier immer noch zum Download bereit.

12 July 2013

The 2013 International Street Paper Awards: The Finalists

The finalists of the 2013 ‘International Street Paper Awards’ were announced today. The awards were launched in 2008 by INSP, to highlight the outstanding, independent editorial achievements of street papers; and their contribution to social justice.

The awards are held every second year as part of INSP’s annual conference. This year, the ceremony will take place in Munich on 1st August, where winners in nine awards categories will be presented with hand-made made awards created by Glasgow Wood Recycling – a social enterprise that offers volunteering and training as a way of tackling poverty and social exclusion.

This year, for the first time, two new awards categories will also recognise street papers for their effectiveness as social enterprises and their work in supporting homeless people.

This year's call for entries received a record number of entries – 191 in total, from 51 different street papers in 25 countries. The range of finalists are a demonstration of the diversity of the global street paper network:

Best Feature Story – Writing for social impact

Best Cover – Making a statement on the street
  • 'Next Stop Referendum—Scotland’s Road to Independenc'e by Andreas Böhm & Dr. Frieder Schwitzgebel, Die Jerusalëmmer (Germany)
  • 'The Standl's by Niko Schmid-Burgk, BISS (Germany)
  • 'Face to Face' by Lisa Mansfield, The Big Issue Australia
  • 'Water. Will there be enough for everyone?' by Branko Bobic, LICEULICE (Serbia)
  • 'The Bitterest Pill' by Kevin Gopal (editor) & Mark Wheeler (designer), The Big Issue in the North (UK)
Click here to view category

Best Interview – A spotlight on change-makers 

Best Photograph – Evoking deeper perspectives on poverty and injustice

  • 'In the Bathtub' by Helga C. Theilgaard, Hus Forbi (Denmark)
  • 'The war on hot sand' by Dimitri Koutsomytis, =Norge (Norway)
  • ‘Brosteinsball’ by Mari Vold, Sorgenfri (Norway)
  • 'Happiness is all around us' by Томислав Георгиев, Lice v lice (Macedonia)
  • 'Yemen's Unseen' by Ziryab Al-Ghabri, The Big Issue South Africa
Click here to view category

Best Vendor Essay – A fresh perspective from the street

Best Design – Effecting change through visual content
  • 'Hot!' by Berhnhard Kerbl & Tina Knoll (Erdgeschoss GmbH), Megaphon (Austria)
  • 'Christmas book 2012' by Dimitri Koutsomytis, Anlov Peter Mathiesen and Svein Johan Reisang, =Norge (Norway)
  • '2012 Collector's Edition' by Dirk Meerkotter, The Big Issue South Africa
  • 'The Diamond Jubilee Edition' by Mark Neil / The Big Issue UK design team, The Big Issue UK
  • '2012 Christmas Edition' by Berit Burmester, Megafon (Norway)
Click here to view category

Social Development Award – Innovation in vendor support 

     * Special mentions in this category go to BISS and Nota Bene

Social Enterprise Award – Business success for social good

Special Award for External Press – Advocating for the needs and rights of homeless people 

Entries were shortlisted by expert panels of journalists, academics, writers, designers and photographers. A high-profile panel of media and publishing experts, led by INSP’s Honorary President David Schlesinger, then selected winners in the seven editorial categories.

The judging of the ‘Social Enterprise’ and ‘Social Development’ categories was supported by PwC - a leading supporter of social enterprise in the UK.

INSP Executive Director Lisa Maclean said: “The International Street Paper Awards are a real celebration of the diversity of our member street papers around the world. Street paper editors, journalists, designers and photographers work hard every day to report on important issues and create first-class magazines and newspapers for their vendors to sell. It’s great to have the opportunity to celebrate and award these efforts and remind the world what street papers are there to do.

“This year, we are honoured to have had the support of an incredible panel of expert judges, who have dedicated many hours to reading entries and debating and selecting finalists and winners. We are very grateful for their support and expertise."

The winners will be announced by press release immediately after the awards ceremony.

8 July 2013

INSP story “Under the wire” republished in the UK and USA

The Big Issue in the North
Marie Colvin, described as the ‘greatest war correspondent of her generation’, was killed in a rocket attack in February 2012 while reporting on the desperate suffering of civilians in Syria.

Her photographer colleague and friend, Paul Conroy, who was also injured in the attack which killed Marie, recently published the book “Under the wire”, which tells his and Marie’s story.

He spoke with INSP’s Amy Mackinnon about his experiences in war zones, ridiculous incidents in captivity, his escape from Syria and his friendship with Marie.

The Big Issue in the North (UK) and the American street paper Street Roots republished the INSP article in their magazine.

The article can still be downloaded here.

The Big Issue in the North
The Big Issue in the North
INSP Artikel “Die Kriegsreporterin” in Großbritannien und den USA wiederveröffentlicht

Marie Colvin, die „größte Kriegsreporterin ihrer Generation“ wurde bei einem Raketenangriff im Februar 2012 in Syrien getötet, wo sie über das Leider der Zivilisten vor Ort berichtete.

Ihr Fotograf und enger Freund, Paul Conroy, welcher ebenfalls bei der Attacke verletzt wurde, die Marie das Leben kostete, hat vor kurzem sein Buch „Under the wire“ veröffentlicht, in dem er seine und Maries Geschichte erzählt.

Mit der INSP-Redakteurin Amy Mackinnon sprach er über seine Erfahrungen in Kriegsgebieten, absurde Situationen während seiner Gefangenschaft, seine Flucht aus Syrien und seine Freundschaft zu Marie.

The Big Issue in the North (Großbritannien) und die amerikanische Straßenzeitung Street Roots veröffentlichten den INSP-Artikel in ihren Magazinen.

Der Artikel kann immer noch hier heruntergeladen werden.