By Sahil Jaidka, Peter McVitie and Stuart Martin
A glamorous awards ceremony took place at the Crowne Plaza on Friday evening – celebrating the fantastic work of various individuals and publications as part of the International Network of Street Papers(INSP) 16th annual conference.
The awards celebrate the substantial impact of street papers as quality, independent media. At the same time they promote the core values of the street paper movement to build a more equal and just world.
Street papers exist to tackle homelessness and poverty. Vendors buy their street paper or magazine at a marked down price before hitting the streets to sell the latest editions at the cover price – generating income for themselves.
INSP are a Glasgow-based charity that supports 112 street papers such as the Big Issue in 40 countries including the UK.
So far, 200,000 vendors around the world have earned a living and changed their lives through selling INSP street papers – and the night celebrated their achievements.
The ceremony was hosted by Dr. Eamonn O’Neill and other notable attendees were INSP Patron and The Rt Hon Lord Provost of Glasgow, Councillor Bob Winter; Executive Director of INSP, Lisa MacLean; Thomson Reuters General Manager for Editorial for UK, Ireland and Nordics, Sarah Edmonds; Herald & Times Group Managing Editor, Tom Thomson; award winning photographer, David Burnett and INSP Chairperson, Serge Lareault.
This years judging panel, chaired by INSP Honorary President and former Reuters editor-in-chief, David Schlesinger, praised the quality of the submissions and had an exceptionally tough time choosing the shortlist.
He said: “Reuters is a proud supporter of the INSP and we’re delighted to assist such a dynamic and unique movement of independent media.
“Being one of the judges for the INSP awards gives me further insight into the important work of street papers as advocates for social change.”
Eamonn O’Neill began the night by introducing special guest The Lord Provost, Councillor Bob Winter who expressed his delight in attending the ceremony of an ‘exceptional charity’.
The Patron of INSP said: “It gives me great pleasure to be here with you all this evening to celebrate excellence in independent journalism.
“INSP is an exceptional charity and I am proud it is based here in Glasgow, supporting street papers in six continents.”
Lisa MacLean spoke of the tremendous efforts and quality work the network has produced over the last 17 years and highlighted the challenges that lie ahead for the INSP.
She said: “There is immense energy on the street and it deserves to be channelled, it needs to be channelled.
“The need for challenging, progressive and independent media voices will be stronger and more relevant than ever and if anything, tonight’s celebration demonstrates the strength and potential of global street papers to step up to the challenge. None of this comes easy.”
Sarah Edmonds presented the first award for the ‘Best Feature Story’, which Eamonn described as one which “recognises bold feature-writing that not only sheds new light upon local and global inequality but also sends a message to readers as to the way forward”.
The winner was Denver VOICE with “The Resolute Shepherd” written by Jacob Ripple-Carpenter and to collect the award on their behalf was a representative of the group who said: “The people who deserve to be on this stage are not here right now.
“This was the most original, most researched and most well reported story.
“We are very honoured to receive this award.”
The second award – Best Cover – was presented by Anna Wang and Kupfermuckn with ‘Social benefits body scanner’ claimed the accolade.
Florian and Walter who designed the cover collected the award and spoke of their pride in the publication’s achievement: “We didn’t think we were going to win – so we don’t have a speech. This award is in our 15th anniversary this year and it is an honour to receive this as a present.”
Award three was the ‘Best Interview’ category and Tom Thomson was on hand to announce One Step Away’s Jose Espinosa as the winner with his interview ‘Fighting Back’. Kevin Roberts made his way to the stage to collect the award and spoke of his delight at clinching the award in such high-profile company: “It is amazing to just be standing here at our first INSP conference.
“All week we have walked around and slack-jawed all at the tireless work done by people done in this room.”
David Burnett somewhat fittingly presented the fourth award for the ‘Best Photograph’ and Asphalt with ‘Trapped Nations’ by Andy Spyra. Volker Macke emotionally accepted the award and said: “Thanks to everyone in this room and the INSP. Andy has travelled the world and helps us by offering us pictures at a low cost. This is not the first time we have won this award – it is something we are very passionate about.”
Head of Libraries at Glasgow Life, Karen Cunningham, presented the next award of the night – Best Vendor Essay – and Sebastião Nicomedes with ‘Before the cold hurts…”. Rose Rico collected the award on his behalf and read a message from Sebastião. It read: “He says to me if I win, can you tell everyone I love to write. The important thing was that my voice was heard by someone – it means a lot to me.”
Richard Bissland, 999 Design Group owner, presented a double award in the ‘Best Design’ category with Megafon, from Norway, with their ‘2010 Year Book’ by Juuni Elizabeth Wathne and The Big Issue in Scotland and Wales, with their Annie Lennox Issue by Mark Neil and his team sharing the award. Representatives from both publications collected their respective awards and together gave their vote of thanks at clinching the award: “Thank you very much for this award – the people now know what we stand for. Everyone is now listening to us and together we can change the world. It is important to make these voice heard – the people who sell the publications. This means a lot to us, thank you.”
The penultimate award of the evening was presented by Councillor Alistair Watson from Glasgow City Council in the ‘External Press’ category was won by O Trecheiro, from Brazil, with ‘Hiding from death’ by Alderson Costa. The award was collected by Rosi Rico who introduced a short video message prepared by the editor of the publication who said: “We are very pleased to receive this award today. A hug to all in Glasgow and keep fighting on.”
The final award for ‘Outstanding Contribution’ was presented by Christine Wilson and was given to Canadian publication L’Itinéraire, and the publisher for the street paper, Serge Lareault, alongside Richard Turgeon, Marketing and Communications Director, said: “Richard and I are workaholics. We would like to say thank you for this award. I am very emotional at receiving this award. I think that this is an important award and we can continue to make a positive impact into the world and change the world.”
The night ended with a traditional Ceilidh, bringing an end to what proved to be a very successful and productive 16th Annual INSP conference in Glasgow.
We would like to pay a special tribute to those affected by Friday’s blast in Oslo, Norway. Our thoughts are with all affected.