Last week marked a very important milestone for the INSP News Service since the introduction of its new online platform in December 2016. As of June 28, members have downloaded a whopping 1 million words of content, highlighting the success of the revamped resource.
The News Service, which has produced more than 500 weekly feeds, provides a sharing platform for INSP’s 110 street paper members to exchange their best stories and editorial content, helping build capacity and increase sales – ultimately putting more money in the pockets of vendors. It also gives street papers from all corners of the world – from Argentina to Australia, Mexico to Macedonia, and Serbia to South Africa – a global voice to champion social justice issues.
The free service has gone from strength to strength since its reinvention late last year, and this is, in no small part, down to the dedicated INSP team and the members who have used the service in their droves.
Zoe Greenfield, INSP Operations Manager, said: “The News Service has been at the heart of our work for many years but the launch of the new site at the end of 2016 was a significant breakthrough for INSP and has revolutionized the way our members access content and how we track usage.
“We would like to say a huge thank you to our web developers Tangent, who worked with us over a long period of time to come up with a vastly improved and more user-friendly solution.
“And, of course, we are immensely grateful to our members, media partners and volunteers who help us to provide outstanding content to street papers globally every week.”
Josée Panet-Raymond, editor of Montreal street paper L’Itineraire, believes it is the worldwide reach that the News Service facilitates which is most valuable.
She said: “People love to learn about issues from around the world, not usually covered by the media.
“INSP provides us with some very interesting material, enriches our content and most importantly, opens the channels of communication between nations. Thanks for being there, INSP!”
Editor of Athens-based street paper Shedia, Chris Alefantis, also hailed the contribution the News Service makes to his publication.
He said: “As a journalist, it makes me particularly proud that our supporters and readers treasure Shedia not only for supporting people to support themselves, but also for its content, articles, and editorial approach.
“In all of this, the News Service is of course, a major contributor.
“Having access to all this exclusive material from street papers around the world is an invaluable asset that makes us a better street paper, helping us in our quest to be even more effective in our mission to support people support themselves. The News Service is making us better people.”
Of course, the most important and exciting aspect of the News Service is the stories themselves, and, in the eight months since the relaunch, members have contributed some hard-hitting features, star-studded interviews and passionate campaigns, all of which are available through the service.
In the last few months alone, the INSP News Service has been home to a second street paper interview with Pope Francis, who spoke to Italy’s Scarp de’tenis editor, Stefano Lampertico, as well as one of its vendors Antonio Mininni, to express his unwavering support for the street paper movement.
The News Service has provided a platform for a host of public figures, from politicians to royalty, to express their support and gratitude for the work street papers do across the globe and the resources and backing INSP provides to them.
Through the News Service, we have also paid tribute to figures that have been vital in standing against inequality and standing up for people experiencing homelessness. This has ranged from celebrating the beginning of the world’s newest street paper, The Springs Echo, set up by activist Raven Canon, to sadly marking her tragic and untimely passing in March.
Vendors are vital to the success of street papers across the INSP network and we are delighted that they have the most prominent platform to have their voices heard as their stories are one of the most popular, and ever-present, features of the News Service.
In recent weeks, INSP has announced the INSP Awards 2017 nominees. Best News Feature and Best Cultural Feature nominees are selected from submissions to the News Service throughout the year. Winners will be honoured at the upcoming Global Street Paper Summit in August, hosted by Big Issue North.
It has taken no time at all to reach this 1 million word landmark – here’s to many millions more!