INSP Awards: best street paper reporting from 2015/16

A Papal audience, an incredible story of a family reunited & a Serbian street paper reaching out to refugees: that’s just the beginning of our Best News Feature nominees.

INSP’s Awards for Best News Feature and Best Cultural Feature are drawn from contributions our unique News Service, which allows street papers to share content with their international peers.

In this way, hundreds of articles are made available for free to INSP’s member street papers.

Our Best News Feature award recognises the best original story, investigative feature, ‘scoop’ or news interview uncovered by a street paper in the last year. The nominated entries demonstrate outstanding journalistic depth and accuracy, as well as original thinking.

The features below are our top ten nominees for this category. They will now go through to our international editorial panel who will pick our five finalists. We will announce these in May.

The ultimate winners of all awards will be announced in June at the Global Street Paper Summit and, of course, right here.

Check out our Best Cultural Feature nominees here.

Former military officer Soon-shil Lee, Ara Kim and sisters Eunhee Shin and Eunha Shin pose for a photo shoot by The Big Issue Korea. Photo: Junghyuk Shin

The Big Issue Korea

North Korean defectors share incredible stories of escape and survival
By Young Ham

The Big Issue Korea speaks to four women who fled North Korea and now appear on TV talk shows and programs in South Korea to raise awareness of the situation in their homeland. Reflecting on how they escaped starvation and execution, the four brave defectors reveal their often horrific experiences of repatriation, and the challenges of adapting to life in South Korea. Despite their experiences, some have happy memories of their homeland and its people. Their interview is accompanied by a stunning photo shoot.

Big Issue North, UK

Life of spice: why Brits, including homeless, favour legal highs
By Gary Ryan

It’s associated with seizures and psychotic episodes and many users hate it. So why is spice – the umbrella term for a variety of synthetic cannabis products that have brand names such as Black Mamba and Clockwork Orange – so popular in the UK? In the US, it has been linked to scores of deaths, particularly among the homeless population, a trend that is being repeated across northern England. Big Issue North speaks to experts and users about the strange world of legal highs.

The Curbside Chronicle, USA

Breaking the cycle of abuse: former abuser tells story of violence and redemption
By Jake Bollig

The lesser-told story of abuse is that of the abuser. What makes a person become abusive? Can they be rehabilitated? In Oklahoma City, the Batterers Intervention program helps men and women address their actions. Of those who complete the year-long course, 85% register a significant change in behaviour. Zachary Crutcher is one of them. He shares his story of violence and redemption as a warning to others.

Hus Forbi, Denmark

Danish woman finds father in street paper’s homeless calendar
By Poul Struve Nielsen

As a teenager, Maria Louise broke contact with her father, who at the time was battling drug addiction. She did not see him again until 13 years later – in a photo in the Danish street paper Hus Forbi’s calendar. The pair reconnected just after Christmas in 2013. Two years on, father and daughter meet with Hus Forbi to talk about what went wrong and how they found each other again thanks to the street paper’s homeless calendar.

Read the full article here.

Liceulice, Serbia

Serbian street paper meets refugees passing through Belgrade
By Zarka Radoja

Since April, tens of thousands of refugees have passed through the central park in Belgrade on their way to find a better life in countries across Europe. Zarka Radoja often visited the park to help refugee families find, food, clothing and medical aid at Miksaliste, Refugee Aid Serbia’s main distribution center in Belgrade . She writes about the people she met and their unbelievable stories for Serbian street paper Liceulice. “The one thing that is always welcomed is small acts of humanity, human connections,” one Syrian father told her.

Scarp de’ tenis, Italy

Activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi on ending child labour
By Stefano Lampertico

Scarp de’ tenis interviews Indian children’s rights activist Kailash Satyarthi about his commitment to ending child labour and slavery, and the challenges ahead. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with Malala Yousafzai in 2014 for his efforts to expose and end the exploitation of children for financial gain. Satyarthi discusses the role globalization has to play on slavery and human trafficking, and how young people themselves have an important role to play in combating the issue.

Sorgenfri, Norway

Lethal needles
By Trond Ola Tilseth

Norway has one of Europe’s highest rates of narcotics-related deaths. Every week, five people die from drug overdose. Four out of five drug deaths are related to opiate-injections. But that’s not what Adam is thinking about as he sneaks behind Trondheim Cathedral to get his fix of morphine. Sorgenfri’s Trond Ola Tilseth discovers why addicts in Trondheim are willing to risk all for a lethal high.

Straatnieuws, Netherlands

“We need to fight for a world without poverty”: Pope Francis grants rare interview to street papers
By Stijn Fens & Jan-Willem Wits

Pope Francis rarely grants interviews, but the opportunity to address international street papers was enough to persuade him that INSP was worth a spot in his busy diary. So, on 27 October, formerly homeless street paper seller Marc sat down with the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics in the Vatican. The Straatnieuws vendor was accompanied by Dutch journalists Stijn Fens and Jan-Willem Wits. In a wide-ranging interview, the Holy Father opened up to them about his childhood in Buenos Aires, his life in Rome and his lack of football skills.

Read the full interview here.

Street Sense, USA

“What Are You?” Finding a place for transgender homeless
By Sabrina Caserta

In the U.S., one in five transgender individuals have experienced homelessness at some point in their lives. Transgender women are often inappropriately housed in gendered shelters, making them more at risk of harassment and violence. Street Sense speaks to transgender homeless women about the discrimination and hardships they have faced within the shelter system, an experience which led LGBTQ campaigner Ruby Corado to open Casa Ruby, Washington DC’s second LGBTQ homeless shelter.

Read the full article here.

Real Change, USA

Seattle’s homeless on the road to nowhere
By Rianna Hidalgo

Seattle City Council’s ‘scofflaw ordinance’ aims to crack down on drivers avoiding illegal parking fines, but it’s the homeless who the policy hits hardest. With one third of King County’s unsheltered population living in their cars, the added costs of tickets, registration fees, impoundment and repair bills is making their situation even more desperate. Can a better solution be found?

Read the full article here.