Who other than a madman would launch a new newspaper?
Who in not only today’s economic climate but in the climate for newsprint, when newspapers are losing money, would launch a new newspaper?
Local and national newspapers are losing money.
A downward spiral, less news, less frequent, less reason to buy, shrinking income, fewer resources for news gathering and quality journalism.
It is into this climate Transition Free Press has been launched. A real newspaper, real newsprint, not a digital newspaper, like the recently launched Guardian Australia.
Transition Free Press was launched this year as an experiment, a toe in the water, a pilot of four quarterly issues.
Transition Free Press has proved to at least be sustainable. Whether it will continue into 2014 will depend upon securing funding.
Why print and distribute a newspaper, with all the risks involved? Why not be like the Huffington Post or Guardian Australia, on-line only?
A newspaper is shareable, and yes, on-line is shareable too. Indeed, I would go further, when you find something interesting on-line, be it Transition Free Press, this article, music, then please share, tweet, re-tweet, recommend.
Transition Free Press is quarterly, it is not transient like a daily newspaper, it contains useful information, thus more likely to be valued, kept for future reference.
So what is in it?
Articles on self-sufficiency, local communities, alternative energy, local economies, carbon reduction, protest, local currencies, sustainability, art, music.
The very first issue, what could be called a pilot for the pilot, came out last year to test the feasibility.
I have read Transition Free Press whilst in The Barn, and have been suitably impressed. At the weekend I found the latest edition, hot off the press.
The front page of the current winter 2013 edition, out now, has a front page lead story on protest. Taking the lead from comments on not voting and the need for revolution from Russell Brand, communities are taking the lead.
Activists staged a mass work out at COP19 Climate Talks in Poland last month. The talks had been hijacked by Big Coal, Big Oil, and other big carbon emitters and polluters. The point the activists made with an impromptu press conference outside the talks, was that we can no longer trust politicians, if we want change, we have to take action ourselves.
That is what Transition Heathrow did, they squatted derelict nursery gardens and brought them back into productive use, ran workshops. Even the local police reported they had a positive impact on the local community, with reductions in low level crime.
With the collapse of the Co-op Bank, and the unfolding scandal, whereto ethical banking, and was it so ethical at the Co-op Bank?
Payday loan sharks, are not only screwing those they have got their teeth into, they are draining money out of our poorest communities, communities that should be plugging the leaks and recycling money within the local economy.
An evaluation inspired by the Reconomy Project of the potential to ‘relocalise’ Lambeth’s economy … switching just 10% of the borough’s supermarket food spend to local retailers would release £37 million (and “money spent in independent local businesses can create 2-4 more times as much real value as money spent in chains”), and retrofitting housing stock with solid wall insulation could payback in 15 years and generate £100 million of local employment.
And yet, we see the opposite. The Rotten Borough of Rushmoor, has been practising ethnic cleansing of local businesses in Farnborough and Aldershot. Squandering £1 million on repaving Queensmead will not attract people to Farnborough, any more than wasting £15,000 on a free wifi scam, a scam that will collect personal data, in order that locals can be bombarded with spam e-mail and spam sms text messages. Neither will demolishing the c 1720s Tumbledown Dick for a Drive-Thru McDonald’s. The local economy will only benefit, when there are local shops and businesses to spend money in, local shops and businesses which then recycle money within the local economy.
The ConDem government, under pressure from the Big Six energy suppliers, are poised to axe or reduce the green and social levies on the Big Six, to reduce their commitment on green measures such as house insulation. Even if these levies were halved, at only 10% of the average bill, it would only see a reduction of 5%. On the other hand, if only 10% was knocked off the 90% of the bill the Big Six are responsible for, this would lead to a 9% cut in bills. The poor will save money if they use less fuel, they will use less fuel, we will all use less fuel, if our homes are better insulated. If we use less carbon-based fuel, we emit less greenhouse gases.
Money paid to the Big Six on fuel bills, is money drained straight out of the local economy. If we insulate, not only do we cut our fuel bills, reduce our greenhouse emission, that is money that is retained within the local economy, money, which if spent with local businesses, is money recycled within the local economy.
Transition Free Press is produced by a not-for-profit collective and supported, although not financed by, the Transition Network. You can help back the paper by signing up for an annual subscription, minimum £15 per year, though you can pay more if you wish.
You can also help, not only by buying a copy from a distribution hub, but chatting to your local indie coffee bar and similar local businesses, and suggesting they too become a distribution hub. It helps them, as they can bulk buy at a discount,and it helps them by bringing people into their coffee bar.
In a coffee bar, having a copy to read, or a pile on display helps. That is how I came across Transition Free Press in The Barn.
If there is not a distribution hub near you, you can find Transition Free Press on-line.
An edited version of a longer article published on Medium.