Readers who have attended recent national events such as Stop the War’s march against the war in Afghanistan, the Great Climate Swoop in Nottingham, or the Raise Your Banners music festival in Bradford, may have spotted something slightly unusual: namely, large numbers of Peace News being given away – to thousands of activists.
Have we lost the plot, you may be asking yourself? Why should anyone pay for PN when it’s been given away it for free? Don’t give-aways like this de-value the paper, turning it into the peace movement equivalent of the free (and disposable) Metro newspaper? What have we been up to?
Firstly, PN is not turning into a free paper. What we have been trying to do is to raise our profile among the kind of activists to whom we want to be useful – and whose support we need for our growth plans. The give-aways have been an experiment, designed to expose more people to the mix of peace-related analysis, action news and reflection that they won’t find anywhere else.
Our experiments are continuing, as we move into the next phase of our Five Year Plan. (Incidentally, at least one person going out on the Gaza Freedom March only heard about it by being given a free PN at an event in Brighton.)
A new world
All magazines and newspapers are facing the fact that the internet has made the distribution of information almost cost-free, and most of Britain’s national newspapers (including PN!) are now available free online almost in their entirety. Sales of print newspapers and magazines are on the wane generally. For many younger readers, the idea of a “subscription”, taken out in order to receive a paper by post, seems antediluvian.
It’s precisely because we value the paper – and indeed, sweat blood to produce it – that we want to boost its pool of readers and supporters. So please bear with us, and help spread the word! We need your support more than ever to help Peace News to grow bigger and better.