The Big Issue’s Covid-19 reaction is up for a prestigious global media award

We will go head-to-head with news giants CNN and The Telegraph for the INMA Global Media Awards after we were recognised for pivoting to subscriber model to support our vendors while they are off the streets

The Big Issue has been named as one of world’s most inspiring examples of media responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, by the INMA Global Media Awards.

For their annual awards, INMA (International News Media Association) rewards the best ideas to energise news brands, create new products, engage audiences, grow revenue, develop customer insights, and instill innovation.

The Big Issue was among 12 publications shortlisted in a last-minute additional category rewarding outstanding initiatives in response to the Covid-19 crisis. Also recognised in the category were CNN and The Telegraph.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is the ‘trust moment’ for news media brands, and the entries submitted for this bonus INMA category redefine what ‘inspiration’ and ‘hope’ mean,” said Earl J. Wilkinson, executive director and CEO of INMA. “Feedback from the judges has been that this was one of the toughest assignments ever and that every entry truly is a winner.”


Our vendors buy every copy of the magazine from us for £1.50 and sell it on to you for £3. Which is why we ask you to ALWAYS take your copy of the magazine. We believe in trade not aid.

Following the coronavirus lockdown, The Big Issue could no longer be sold on the UK’s streets, meaning vendors saw their income slashed overnight as did the not-for-profit behind the magazine.

Since then, The Big Issue has had to rapidly pivot to selling through other platforms – including subscriptions, digital sales and through supermarkets and newsagents – whilst still finding ways to support the magazine’s regular vendors.

In just under seven weeks, The Big issue sold more than 8,000 subscriptions, sold another 8,000 copies of the magazine in retailers, and saw 3,000 downloads of the new Big Issue app.

The magazine also saw support from celebrity devotees, media outlets and online fans.

The Big Issue has also managed to support over 2,000 vendors through supermarket vouchers, topping up electric and gas keys, ongoing social and emotional support and helping them access all of the support services available to them at this time.

And the work is not yet done — The Big Issue will continue to be there for vendors throughout this pandemic, thanks to the support of loyal readers.

The overall winners of the INMA Global Media Awards will be announced Tuesday, June 2, in an international broadcast by INMA.