By Lucy Gordon
Delegates were reaching for the stars this afternoon in a workshop surrounding attracting ‘big names’.
Nick Bevens, Journalism Lecturer and Angela McCracken, media lawyer from Levy & McRae led the workshop which evoked some interesting themes.
With a combined readership of 6 million per edition, street papers are an attractive outlet for those wanting to get their name out there to a huge audience. In addition it was discussed that the involvement of ‘big names’ can significantly boost sales and thus generate more revenue which obviously is vital. However, the theme which stood out the most this afternoon was the street papers major selling point in terms of ethics.
Much of the media world has come under scrutiny surrounding the recent phone hacking scandal. Whilst it cannot be denied that attracting ‘big names’ will help to boost sales and thus increase revenue, it was agreed within the group that street papers offer a fresh approach to journalism free from sensationalism and alterior motives sadly apparent in much modern media. Street papers can provide an attractive outlet for ‘big names’ to express themselves honestly, without the worry that what they say will be taken out of context.
The group considered the Christmas Edition of the Big Issue which featured Prince William. For the Prince the potential to have his story heard by 5 – 6 million was an attractive prospect. On top of this his reputation as a strong public figure and young icon made his involvement with the Big Issue extremely relevant. As a result of his feature the Christmas edition of the paper was republished in 43 street papers, translated into 12 languages, generated 70,000 extra income in the UK alone and over 150 mainstream media covered the story.
Evidently the involvement of ‘big names’ in street news can have a profound effect. The group unanimously agreed that whilst ‘big names’ are important, it is vital that street papers stay true to themselves, this means not losing sight of the powerful social message central to all street news. Tabloid news could not be in a worse position currently and it is the job of street news to remain truthful and honest in an increasingly blurred market.