Big Issue embracing citizen journalism with vendors

Big Issue vendors are to be issued smartphones to capture life in their local areas, in the hope that they will learn “a number of key skills” and engage with customers further afield.

The charity’s founder, John Bird, claims that because Big Issue vendors “stand on streets up and down the country come rain or shine”, they are “uniquely connected to their local area”, and he hopes they will “become the eyes and ears of their neighbourhoods, offering a unique perspective and simultaneously developing the skills that will get them off the streets”.

The magazine has around 2,900 homeless distributors across the country, who purchase the magazine from Big Issue for £1 and sell it on for £2, keeping the difference. The charity has not revealed what smartphones it will give out, but it is in talks with an unnamed corporate partner.

A statement from the charity said: “Producing digital content will enable [vendors] to engage with a new and wider customer base, as well as equipping them with a number of key skills.”

There’s no word on how said homeless people will go about charging their new phones, nor any information on how the charity hopes to stop its vendors from selling the gadgets on.

(Source: Press Gazette)

Photo taken by Flickr user garryknight, licensed under Creative Commons.




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