In Milan, the newspapers of the world that provide good information

The cover of the latest issue of “Scarp de ‘tenis”.

For the first time, Italy hosts the Global Summit of street newspapers from around the world. Over one hundred delegates from five continents arrive in Milan from 12 to 15 September, from Germany to Canada, from Brazil to Australia, to share experiences, reflections, ideas, to outline the future of street magazines together. The event is organized by Insp, International network of street papers, an organization based in Glasgow. And to do the honors of the house is Scarp de ‘tenis, the magazine supported by Caritas Ambrosiana. The event, which until 2019 had an annual frequency, returns after a three-year stop linked to the pandemic which, as he points out Mike Findlay, CEO of Insp, «has been the most serious threat to the street newspaper network so far. The simple act of paying to buy a newspaper and physically delivering it to the buyer, has changed very quickly from a daily action to a risky action, due to the spread of the virus ». To explain the genesis and the peculiarities of street newspapers is Stefano Lampertico, Director of Scarp de ‘tenis.

Stefano, what is a street newspaper and what are its characteristics?

«The idea of ​​the street gornale was born in the United States in the late 1980s. It is an extraordinary example of communication that brings together an income opportunity for people in difficulty or homelessness and an opportunity for good information on issues often ignored by traditional media. In the world there are more than 90 street newspapers, distributed in 35 countries, published in 25 different languages. Scarp de ‘tenis is a Caritas project, widespread in Milan and in thirteen Italian cities. In these 26 years of activity, almost 800 sellers have passed who have managed to obtain a monthly income thanks to the sale of the newspaper, because they keep a part of the cover price for themselves, to which are added the tips that buyers often leave ».

Who are your salespeople today?

“We currently have one hundred in Italy – identified by Caritas listening centers or dormitories -, more than 70% are Italians. They are people in difficulty, who have behind them stories of the street, dormitory, outdated addiction. People who found in Scar de ‘tenis a big family. Since this is a Caritas project, we are able to provide these people with other small services, from help with paperwork to healthcare assistance. The model is similar all over the world, even if in the other countries the street giormals are mostly managed by social enterprises and secular organizations ».

How are street newspaper vendors generally received and perceived?

«We have always registered signs of affection, acceptance and great generosity from the people who buy the newspaper. Many sellers are “adopted” by the parishes in front of which they go to sell every month Scarp de ‘tenis“.

Who is the typical reader of Scarp de ‘tenis?

“We have a little bit of everything. Mostly middle-aged people, many are very loyal, they have been buying it for many years and the best thing is that they buy it not as a gesture of charity but because they appreciate the product and know that those sellers are not begging but are actually working “.

The most dealt with topics?

«Many stories, many ideas of a social nature. We are attentive to the problems and emergencies of the territories, to the world of Caritas. We also have important contributions from renowned journalists who have become our friends and who collaborate with us in the form of voluntary work ».

The Covid pandemic has put street newspapers in great suffering.

“Yes, the pandemic was devastating. There are street papers that have had to stop publishing, like The Big Issue in England. Luckily we went ahead and did not lose even an issue, because the churches remained open and our sellers, with all the precautions provided, could go to the churchyards to distribute the magazine. On the streets it would have been impossible. ‘

What is the most welcoming Italian city towards street newspapers?

«Milan has a great tradition of hospitality and solidarity and continues to maintain it. When it is said that Milan has its heart in its hand, it is still true ».

(Photo above: the editorial staff of “Scarp de ‘tenis” and the sellers in Milan)

In Milan, the newspapers of the world that provide good information