Tuesday December 14, 2010
Prince William's Christmas Message
Why street newspapers are important
Submitted by Janine Bandcroft, Editor Victoria Street Newz
RINCE William has paid a personal and emotional Christmas tribute to those who he calls the "restorers of hope," who care for the welfare of homeless people around the world.
Writing exclusively for an estimated five million readers of 'street' newspapers and magazines - that's those sold by homeless street vendors - the Prince says his thoughts are with everyone who finds themselves without a roof over their head.
The 115 titles carrying the message over the Christmas period are all members of the International Network of Street Papers (INSP) - a global family of publications, which in some countries are sold under the 'Big Issue' brand and include others such as BISS in Germany, L'Itinéraire in Canada, Street Roots in the US and Journey Home in Russia. The first editions will hit the streets today.
Homelessness is an issue close to the Prince's heart. Since 2005, he has been Patron of Centrepoint, a charity that looks after homeless young people in the UK. In his message to INSP, the Prince says that street newspapers, and his own charity Centrepoint and other individuals who care for the homeless, "so inspire me". He adds: "They give homeless people the tools with which to rebuild their confidence and, ultimately, their lives."
He calls the homeless young people he has met as having "extraordinary courage", and counts himself "enormously privileged to be associated with such individuals," adding: "I salute all the organizations that are there for them."
His words are being sent to editors within the INSP network through the organization's news agency, the Street News Service (SNS), whose content is shared by those member street paper titles. The network recently announced it has seen a 10 per cent rise in worldwide monthly sales over the past year to 1.51 million, bringing the global readership to 5.27m per edition.
According to INSP estimates, the Prince's message is expected to bring a huge boost to street sales in some 40 countries. In the UK, for instance, they could be increased by as many as 70,000 copies as a result, says INSP's executive director Lisa Maclean. This in turn could provide £70,000 more in the pockets of the homeless vendors during this Christmas period.
The concept behind INSP street papers is a simple one. Homeless vendors buy their local street paper at cost price and sell it for the cover price, keeping the proceeds. Any surge in sales translates into more money for sellers, helping them in turn to get off the very streets where they sell their titles.
INSP's Executive Director Lisa Maclean says: "Being able to carry a message to readers from someone of the stature of Prince William is so powerful for our member titles." "One of INSP's principal aims is to build the capacity of our worldwide street papers. What we hope will be a huge boost in sales as a result of this Christmas message, simply means more money in the pockets of the vendors who depend on street papers for income, and ultimately an even better chance of lifting themselves out of poverty."
"By working together to publish messages like this one, INSP street papers are also showing the powerful, global voice we have to speak out against poverty and homelessness."
What others say about INSP and its Street News Service:
"As someone who worked with vulnerable and homeless young people before I became a journalist, I strongly support the International Network of Street Papers (INSP). INSP's Street News Service adds strength and depth to the already remarkable development of street papers worldwide. This invaluable movement provides a whole other strand of news and information as well as an income opportunity for homeless people, without which, many would be still more challenged in their daily lives." - Jon Snow, Newscaster, Channel 4 News, Street News Service Patron
"I became Honorary President of the International Network of Street Papers because I truly believe in the cause: it is about people using journalism and publishing to help themselves and in so doing, help the world." - David Schlesinger, Editor In Chief, Reuters News, INSP Honorary President
"The Herald & Times Group is delighted to support the Street News Service and the admirable work done by street newspapers around the world. I am honoured to serve as Honorary Editor of this international news network. It wonderfully combines journalism with a helping hand for some of the world's neediest people." - Tom Thomson, Group Managing Editor, Herald & Times Group, Street News Service Honorary Editor
For more information, please contact: Danielle Batist, Street News Service Editor, International Network of Street Papers, Floor 3, Centrum Building, 38 Queen Street, GLASGOW G1 3DX
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