One year after doubling their print run to go from publishing fortnightly to weekly, the staff at Portland street paper Street Roots are celebrating giving vendors a more stable income.
After three years of planning and community support, Street Roots went weekly in January 2015.
This month, the street paper marks a huge achievement – 52 quality editions packed into just one year, resulting in a 60% rise in sales.
A huge effort from the entire team has seen the paper sold in Oregon’s City of Roses flourish in terms of sales, readership, news coverage and morale.
Staff and vendors tell us why a year of hard graft is paying off.
Street Roots director Israel Bayer
“By going weekly we have been able to give vendors a more stable income, week-in and week-out. Newspaper sales have increased 60%. That’s amazing. With 15,000 readers around the region, that means giving vendors a real hand up,” said Bayer.
“Being a weekly publication also allows Street Roots to be timely in the news department, offering the same quality journalism and voices from the community that readers have come to expect from the newspaper.”
He added that since going weekly Street Roots has gone from 75 regular vendors to more than 125 vendors working with more than 70 local businesses throughout the region.
— Street Roots (@StreetRoots) December 29, 2015
“Going weekly was no small achievement. To many, it felt like the ending to a long race, but in reality it was just the beginning. Being able to maintain a quality publication week-in and week-out is the upmost importance to Street Roots.
“Giving vendors and readers the best possible publication and being able to provide quality news will remain our top priority.”
Street Roots editor Joanne Zuhl
“With a full-time reporter and a larger freelance writing team, our coverage has expanded and become more competitive with the other publications in the city,” said Zuhl of her award-winning editorial team.
“We’re breaking stories around environmental and social issues, in addition to our coverage of the streets. And our reader support has been overwhelming.”
She added that having access to the INSP News Service for free editorial content was especially useful when the paper first transitioned from a fortnightly to weekly format.
“Like most street papers, we operate on a tight budget, with our focus on vendor sales to help people in poverty and homelessness. Having the additional resource for the newspaper lets us focus on our mission, and still provide a great product to keep readers coming back for more.”
Street Roots vendors
Most importantly, Street Roots vendors are benefiting from having a new magazine to sell every week. They’ve reported increased sales and more interest from readers.
“Weekly publication is awesome right now. I’ve hardly had any problems with a weekly sale,” said Street Roots vendor Abraham V.
“When it was bi-weekly sales used to die down by the fourth day. Having it weekly it’s a lot easier to sell it through the fifth or sixth day. There’s a lot more interest from customers.”
Vendor Dan Newth agreed. “Going weekly has dramatically increased my income. I probably make three times as much now as I did before,” he said.
“I think the reason it makes a big difference is because they’ve maintained the integrity of the paper, the integrity of the journalism and because of the hard work that the editorial staff does. Their dedication is amazing and that’s what’s impressive to me.”