INSP News Service celebrates its 600th edition

Today marks another important milestone for the INSP network in 2017: the 600th weekly edition of the INSP News Service.

The landmark comes just a few months after it was revealed that street paper members had already downloaded an incredible one million words of content in 2017, and a year after the introduction of the News Service’s new online platform.

INSP’s Operations Manager, Zoe Greenfield, said: “We are delighted to celebrate this milestone as the 600th INSP news feed lands in the inboxes of over 250 editors and journalists at street papers today.

“For our small and dedicated staff team here in Glasgow, seeing content shared around the world is as thrilling as ever. Of course, it would not be possible without our street paper members, volunteer translators and media partners who we want to thank for their continued support.”

Producing a quality publication to a tight deadline is a difficult task, even for the most established members of the world of modern journalism. For many street papers, often operating in isolation with limited resources and few editorial staff, the INSP News Service is a vital and multi-faceted resource. It allows INSP’s 100 plus street paper members to exchange their best stories and editorial content, helping build capacity and further increase vendors’ sales. It can also give street papers situated in very specific locales a more global voice.

Stefania Seccia, managing editor of Canadian street paper Megaphone, sold by vendors on the streets of Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia, recognises the various ways street papers benefit from the free service.

She said: “The news feed is a wonderful way to keep your finger on the pulse on how sister papers are doing around the world.

“How they are tackling issues we’re facing here is really inspiring to see and it helps generate my own story ideas for Megaphone.

“It’s also really encouraging to see our own stories take on a new life in another part of the world, particularly the thoughtful writing from our vendors who don’t have the luxury to afford such a reach on their own.”

“The News Service is invaluable”

The content within each edition of the News Service varies from week to week, from hard-hitting investigative pieces, to celebrity interviews, as well as updates on innovative and exciting projects and activities instigated by street papers and their vendors. The News Service also benefits from INSP’s editorial partnership with news agencies and outlets such as Reuters, Inter Press Service and The Conversation, as well as original editorial content produced at INSP’s headquarters in Glasgow.

The service is further enhanced thanks to INSP’s partnership with Translators Without Borders, as well as with independent volunteer translators, which allow News Service contributions to be translated into 24 languages and dispersed throughout the network.

Eric Falquero, editor-in-chief of Street Sense, based in the US capital Washington D.C., believes that the editorial support of the network is essential in helping him and his team produce the best quality publication possible.

He said: “The News Service is invaluable. We’ve published important cover stories from elsewhere in the country and around the world. This helps to both feature information our customers would otherwise never hear about and to keep the quality of our content consistently high if something original falls through on deadline.

“The news service is also a great way to share the hard work of our vendors, volunteers and interns – the opportunity of being published elsewhere is a small bonus for their largely unpaid contributions.

“The size of the network is also a great asset when pitching celebrity interviews.”

Top Left: Russell Brand (Credit: Louise Haywood-Schiefer); Top Right: Streetcat Bob (Credit: Dimitri Koutsomytis); Bottom left: Jon Bon Jovii (Credit: REUTERS/Brian Snyder); Bottom Right: Naomi Klein (Credit: Kourosh Keshiri)

The most important and exciting aspect of the New Service are the stories themselves. INSP recognised some of those in 2015 during celebrations for the 500th edition. Since then, even more star-studded, awe-inspiring, passionate journalism has graced the weekly feed.

The News Service was home to yet another interview with Pope Francis, who spoke to Stefano Lampertico, editor of Italian street paper Scarp de’ tenis. His Holiness has proven popular with street paper members in the past, and this occasion was no different; the feature went on to be published in 25 papers across 12 countries.

Examples of content shared through the INSP News Service

Big names are a staple of the News Service, and this year has seen a plethora of notable interviewees and feature subjects, from stadium rocking superstars like Jon Bon Jovi, to writers and activists such as Naomi Klein, and even celebrity pets like Streetcat Bob.

The News Service has also allowed street papers like Oklahoma City’s The Curbside Chronicle to flourish, with their poignant and emotive stories, about the final meals of death row inmates and convicts who write themselves letters of self-reflection, proving especially popular in the last year and being republished in street papers from all corners of the globe.

Aspects of social justice, including inspiring stories of remarkable people overcoming the odds, are, of course, especially important to street paper staff and readers, who come in contact with such individuals every single day in the shape of their vendors.

In the lead up to the 600th edition of the News Service, these extraordinary stories have been in the spotlight, such as Surprise’s INSP award-winning account of the refugee couple fighting to be together for their wedding and The Big Issue Korea’s deep dive into the world of ‘Comfort Women’ – the Korean victims’ behind Japanese military sexual slavery.

Credits: Julien Gregorio and Courtesy of the House of Sharing

On top of this, INSP’s collaboration with FEANTSA has borne fruit which has received much attention from the street paper network thanks to articles highlighting the European homelessness crisis, and the powerful individuals in a position to address it. The research included in the investigation showed that the number of people being left homeless and sleeping rough had increased across the continent, with a 7% rise in the UK, a 35% increase in Germany, and a staggering 85% rise amongst young people in Denmark. Only Finland showed promising signs, with a 10% drop. Both of the articles were included in one of the weekly News Service feeds and republished across the network.

Thanks to the contributions of street papers across the INSP network, and the work of INSP staff in maintaining it, the INSP News Service continues to go from strength to strength.