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A Modern World: Street papers and the digital age

Wed, Feb 13, 2013

In a world where traditional print media is threatened more and more every day by the undeniable prevalence of eBooks, online news websites and smartphones, I think it’s dire that street papers maintain pace with the progression into the digital age and – for lack of a more subtle phrase – “keep up with the times.”

Our team here at StreetWise, Inc. recognizes the sheer importance of these digital trends as social media hits shockingly high user numbers, drastically fewer people carry cash and rely on digital debit card transactions and millions of bookstores close down because, frankly, using a single eReader with ions of reading material is easier than lugging around several heavy books.

So what does this mean for the street paper? Our organization, StreetWise, Inc. has embarked upon several new digital initiatives this year in order to not only stay relevant, but to ensure that the entire international family of street papers maintains a strong stance in the world of media.

Unlike traditional media outlets, street papers have an additional goal on top of spreading the news about a hot story. Street papers also have the responsibility to drive awareness. According to a 2012 study by the independent market research company lpsos, more than six in 10 (62%) online individuals around the world use the Internet for social networking. Knowing how easy (and free) it is to spread information, street papers would be remiss if they were to ignore these very valuable online networking tools.

You cannot only find StreetWise on Facebook (streetwisechicago), but you can also connect with us on Twitter (StreetWise_CHI), YouTube (streetwisechicago), Pinterest (StreetWiseCHI), FourSquare (StreetWise_CHI) and Instagram (StreetWise_CHI).

Because most newspapers and magazines make their articles available online for free to their users, StreetWise ensures that all news pieces appear on our website (www.StreetWise.org) the day after each magazine’s full weeklong run. If you would like to read articles from our recent and past issues, please visit www.streetwise.org.

Coming soon in 2013, The Big Issue in the North in Manchester will be the first to launch a digital version of their magazine. StreetWise will then follow after The Big Issue’s pilot, coming out in 2013. Customers will purchase an access card from their street vendor that will have a QR code, which can be scanned or entered onto smartphones, tablets or desktop computers. INSP quoted, “With lower production costs and print output, the digital street paper will increase efficiency.”

Debit and credit cards may be easier for consumer purchasing, but street paper vendors aren’t huge fans of the trend when they can only accept cash for their magazine or newspaper. StreetWise has come up with a solution: The public can now purchase StreetWise Magazine using a SmartPhone via their personal PayPal account. Customers will get the vendor’s unique 4-digit ID code and go to stwise.org/vendorcode (eg. stwise.org/1234). Then it’s as simple as logging into your PayPal account and going through a few very quick, simple and safe steps. Please pick up next week’s edition of StreetWise Magazine to learn more about this initiative and how you can buy StreetWise on your smartphone.

By Brittany Langmeyer,
StreetWise Director of Marketing & Design


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