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.
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)
|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)
|Workshop 4: Generating our own income.|
|Leaders of workshop 4:|
Amy Roe (Real Change, USA) and
Gabi Koch (Hinz&Kunzt, Germany)
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."