Stand by your newsstands! May 1st sees the relaunch of Transition Free Press following its successful pilot which produced four very popular and high quality papers. The relaunch also represents a shift in emphasis for the paper. I spoke to Alexis Rowell, TFP’s Managing Editor, who told me that in the relaunch issue, “the focus is shifting slightly to include anything that is “Transition-like” without necessarily being Transition. There are all these solutions groups out there, and we would like to join them all up, to expand the focus a bit”. So how can this new and improved TFP be assured of ongoing success? That’s where you come in.
The aim of the pilot was to show that there is demand for a newspaper focusing on the kinds of solutions that are coming through the Transition movement and elsewhere, with each edition of 10,000 copies being distributed, in pre-paid bundles, through Transition initiatives. It is estimated that every copy is read by at least 3 or 4 people, giving the paper a very wide readership.
The production team has recently been complemented by some great new additions. You can meet the whole new and expanded team here. What is clear is that even in a short time, whether as was reflected in the successful crowdfunding appeal or in the response to each issue, TFP has become a much-loved expression of Transition. Here are some quotes from readers:
“Thanks to the article on brewers in TFP, a group called Farnham Hoppers will be growing hops in gardens around Farnham to produce a local pale ale from the harvest. There are about 50 people involved. It’s very exciting.”
Robert Simpson, Transition Farnham
“I save all my TFPs and reread them when I’m a bit down.”
Diana Korchien, Transition Leytonstone
“TFP is an impressive read – it’s full of articles which educate, get you thinking about alternatives, and raise your spirits about the ingenuity of local communities to deliver incredible results.”
Transition Walthamstow website
“[TFP] plants the seed of the idea that a “newspaper” could be a thing of value – for slow enjoyment – that lasts – something that can be kept and passed around – for months!”
Dave Hampton, Transition Town Marlow
So, how to make sure that TFP thrives and becomes the success it is clearly capable of becoming? The model of distributing the paper through Transition initiatives (which if your initiative isn’t doing, please do, you can sign up for here) has, according to Alexis “probably reached its limits”, providing a “good solid base” upon which to expand the paper. Some initiatives distribute a lot of copies. Transition Town Lewes, for example, sell 500 copies, but they are the most proactive in this regard. With that base, the plan now, he continues, is “to ramp it up and go further”.
What will really make a difference is the number of people who sign up to become subscribers, paying £15 a year in advance for four copies. Do you know a friend or relative who might enjoy a subscription to TFP? As Alexis put it, “we’re looking for subscriptions in a big way”. You can subscribe here. It may turn out to be the best investment you ever made. In its short life, TFP has rapidly become something for which there is a great deal of affection. Let’s make sure that it continues to go from strength to strength.
Another way to help is to advertise in TFP. Its very reasonably priced Marketplace ads page offers a maximum of 55 words including contact details for just £35. What better way to reach out to the UK Transition community and beyond? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, just kind of as an aside really, at Transition Network’s office, in our toilet, we have a Caption Competition on a regular basis. Here are our favourite entries from the TFP one, of Transition Network’s Trustees all, entirely unstaged, reading TFP:
- The nude centrefold of Peter Lipman lying naked on a pile of gel bike seats met with a mixed reaction
- “Damn! I thought this paper was going to be “Transition-free”. But it’s not…”
- The Rupert Murdoch buy-out had increased circulation but it just wasn’t the same
- As part of the push for more “being” at Board meetings, ‘Musical Statues’ had become a regular feature
- Jeremy Clarkson’s editorial was going down a treat
- The Board’s process of “empathising with the mainstream” involved replicating the conditions of a rush hour commute on the London Underground
- Ben had figured out 3 Across, but he wasn’t letting on.
If you can do any better, and let’s face it, it’s not difficult, do post your caption below. And please, do put whatever weight you can behind making TFP the huge success it so deserves to be.