Round up: training day

The INSP conference kicked off early with an optional training day, comprised of four sessions led by INSP’s supporting street paper members.

The training day provides new, emerging and smaller street papers with the opportunity to learn about the main areas of street paper operations from more experienced street papers.

The training day has formed an additional part to the INSP conference since 2010 in order to cover the practical ‘how to’ of street papers, which the main conference programme does not cover in detail.

Hildegard Denninger (BISS, Germany) and
Steven Persson (Big Issue Australia)

Fifteen delegates from 11 different countries and street papers attended the training day this year.

The first session, facilitated by Hildegard Denninger (managing director of BISS) and Steven Persson (CEO of The Big Issue Australia and INSP Secretary), focused on business development and advertising.

Delegates listened to presentations on the importance of planning and budgeting, ways to improve existing management structures, and determining advertising to editorial ratios, followed by a Q & A session with Hildegard and Steven to discuss these topics and gain valuable insight from more experienced street papers. They both agreed that the financial focus should be mainly on the sale of the street paper and only to a small degree relying on advertisement. “People think advertisement is where the rivers of gold are, but it’s not,” explains Steven Persson.

Thiago Massagari (OCAS, Brazil),
 Michael Bockhorni (Austria, Non-street paper member)
Chris Alefantis (Shedia, Greece)

The second session focused on fundraising and income generation. Many smaller street papers operate with scant resources and often in challenging cultural, social, economic and political environments so it is important for them to find effective ways to manage money and increase sales.

BISS’s Hildegard Denninger and INSP Chairperson and Executive Director of L’Iinéraire, Serge Lareault, gave presentations on different sources of funding, how to create a strong case for support for your street paper, and how to use social media to raise funds. Hildegard Denninger encourages all the street papers to aim for the very best: “Have the courage to ask for all the things you want, people’s willingness to help may surprise you.”

Serge Lareault (Chairperson INSP, L’Itineraire)

Allan Attwood’s advice:
“Make your magazine more attractive
by putting famous people on the cover!” 

The third session, with presentations by Alan Attwood (Editor of The Big Issue Australia) and Annette Wild (Editor-in-Chief of BISS), covered editorial planning and concepts. They discussed editorial codes of conduct, defining ‘news’ and finding story angles, establishing useful contacts, and how to use valuable resources such as INSP’s own news service. “The rule is: there are no rules!” emphasises Alan Attwood. “A concept may work in Malawi or Sao Paolo but it may not work in your country.” He also points out the importance of integrating the vendors in the production process: “The vendors are not only the ones selling your paper, but they are also your marketing people, they know what’s going to work and what is not.”

Johannes Denninger:
“The vendor has to be
in the middle of all our actions!”

The final session of the day was led by BISS social worker, Johannes Denninger, and L’Itinéraire’s Serge Lareault and concerned social development and distribution services. Johannes Denninger drew a blue point in the middle of a flip chart and reminded: “For everything we do, there is one important principal: the vendor is in the middle!”

At the end of the day all the delegates were satisfied with the outcomes of the discussions. Thiago Massagardi (OCAS, Brazil) is especially happy about the rich exchange of ideas during the training day: “We are all facing the same problems and it is interesting to hear different approaches. Sometimes you have an idea, and you bring it to the conference and someone else adds another idea – and suddenly it’s complete.”