As we announced back in December, Peace News want to try out a one-year experiment, expanding the paper to 24 pages and reducing frequency from 10 times to six times a year, starting with this issue. Peace News Trustees, the parent company for Peace News, have asked us to produce this issue, which shows off some of our new ideas for a longer PN, and get your responses to the new format and frequency to help us decide whether this is really the right way forward.
The 24-page format gives us the chance to have longer, more thoughtful articles, to give space for more nonviolent thinking, to go into activist practice more deeply (in this issue, in relation to activist training), and to showcase excellent images or photographs at poster size. They won’t always be by world-famous photographers, but they will be images that inspire, inform or incite, images that you’ll want to keep.
We’d like to hear your views about all this! We would be very grateful if you could fill in our questionnaire and email or post it to us by 16 April, to feed into a decision-making meeting. If you haven’t received a questionnaire with this copy, you can obtain one from our office by emailing or telephoning (details below).
The questionnaire (which also covers other aspects of what we do) is part of our Social Audit, a wide-ranging investigation into how PN is fulfilling, or not fulfilling, its purpose as a force for nonviolence. The Social Audit Network says: ‘Social Accounting and Audit (SAA) helps you prove, improve and account for the difference you are making.’ We believe PN is the first peace movement organisation to carry out a Social Audit.
Another part of the audit is our Call for Stories, asking you, our readers, for stories of how your life and work have been touched by Peace News.
Going bimonthly will enable us to spend more time on increasing the quality of what we produce, give us space to be more reflective, and to invest staff time and energy into our online presence, including more frequent stories and comment on our website. At the moment, almost all our editorial time is focused on the nearly-monthly paper edition that you are holding now, and our website coasts along between issues. We want to increase and improve the quantity and quality of articles appearing on the PN website, and going bimonthly will help us to do that.
Another important factor is economic. We’re grateful for the support we are receiving, and glad to be surviving, when the mainstream newspaper industry is in such turmoil and radical publishing is increasingly difficult. Postage and printing costs are becoming prohibitive, and PN is feeling the same pressures as everyone else; when appeals raise less money and it’s a struggle for people to take out a subscription. This one-year bimonthly experiment will help, no doubt about it.
Please do let us know what you think!