Big Issue Vendor

The Big Issue wins Magazine of the Year and Best Covid Response

The magazine won two awards at the Scottish Professional Publishers' Association after a launching a subscriptions service, app and podcast to support vendors through lockdown.

The Big Issue has been named Magazine of the Year at a key industry awards.

In the week vendors in England were allowed out of lockdown and back to sell the magazine on the street, the publication also picked up a gong for its response to the Covid crisis.

Editor Paul McNamee said: “Given all that has happened this year these awards are particularly welcome. The team continue to keep on producing brilliantly every day.

“Never once during the crisis have they lost focus on work that we need to do for our vendors. And the award for Best Response to Covid is such fantastic recognition of the resilience and the innovation shown by everybody within The Big Issue.

“I’m very proud of the team. On we go!”

The magazine launched a digital publication almost overnight when the UK went into lockdown, ensuring its vendors were financially supported while expanding its print and digital presence across the year.

Judges called The Big Issue “a shining example of publishing and editing, full of energy, passion and drive, having completely switched business model during the pandemic and ending up with a better magazine, never letting the quality drop while revolutionising their business”.

As well as launching an app, subscription service, and podcast, editorial highlights included interviews with Dolly Parton, David Attenborough, Spike Lee, and Captain Sir Tom Moore, a guest edition edited by Jarvis Cocker, a special investigation into the future of house building in England and the Ride Out Recession Alliance campaign to help people stay in their jobs and in their homes through the economic impact of the pandemic.

Big Issue sellers buy the weekly magazine at half the cover price from distribution centres across the country, enabling them to make a profit, and for many it is their only source of income.

The Big Issue also built a map service to help readers connect with their local vendor and take out a subscription linked directly to an individual, if they are unable to buy the magazine directly.

The magazine’s response to the coronavirus crisis was “exemplary, inspirational and awe-inspiring”, added the judges for the second award for Best Initiative in Response to Covid-19.