Paper for poor goes broke

Facing rising costs, Calgary Street Talk, a newspaper that helps poor Calgarians earn money and learn new skills, will soon stop publication.
Calgary Street Talk
The Calgary Herald reports:  

“The monthly Street Talk — featuring Saint Pete’s crossword puzzle and
news about social justice issues — has been published by the Calgary
Urban Project Society
for 15 years as an entrepreneurial outlet to help
clients bring in a little extra cash. It will print its final edition in

Street Talk publisher Robert Perry said the competition from free
papers such as Metro and 24 has taken a toll and it’s been more
difficult to attract vendors.”

“We’re simply not selling as many papers,” said Perry, CUPS director of
internal operations. “The vendors were standing out there longer for
less money.”

“If they’re standing out there, we need to make it worthwhile.”

“From a circulation high of 56,608 in 2004, with 55 people hawking the
paper, the numbers have fallen over the past five years, Perry said.
Last year, 19,275 copies were sold by 20 vendors.”

“It was a good little paper, for what it was,” said Robert Bragg, an
associate professor of journalism at Mount Royal University and a
founder of Street Talk. “It offered a different voice, a different

“It was something to sell, rather than just panhandling.”

The CBC reports:

“The end of Street Talk is the end of Calgary’s community newspaper and
it’s the end of something that … our editor loves doing, our
contributors love doing,” [Perry] said.

“There’s a lot of passion associated with this paper and that’s the end
of that.”

“Vendor Rob Champion, who has been selling the newspaper in Kensington
since its first issue — and writing a regular column for it — said he is
in shock about its demise.

“My stomach has been in butterflies ever since I found out.”

“CUPS is trying to develop a transition plan for each client who works
selling the newspaper, Perry said.

“It’s going to be hard. They are upset. They want to know what to do and
they are asking me those questions,” he said.”

Approximately 50 vendors distribute 50,000 copies of Calgary Street Talk
each year. Papers are purchased for $.60 per copy and sold by donation
throughout the city.