Big Issue sellers to be given smartphones

Homeless people selling The Big Issue magazine are to be equipped with smartphones to produce digital content.

Homeless people selling The Big Issue magazine are to be equipped with smartphones to produce digital content.

Vendors sell the publication to help earn a living, and the charity that runs the operation says they will be issued with handheld devices to become "news gatherers", by blogging, Tweeting, using Facebook and capturing audio and images.

John Bird, founder of The Big Issue, said: "Big Issue vendors stand on streets up and down the country come rain or shine, hence they are uniquely connected to their local area. We want them to become the eyes and ears of their neighbourhoods, offering a unique perspective and simultaneously developing the skills which will get them off the streets."

Producing digital content will enable vendors to engage with a new and wider customer base, as well as equipping them with a number of key skills, says the charity.

The move is in line with the latest policy in other media outlets, with BBC journalists having recently been issued with smartphones to send content back to newsrooms from out in the field.

The news comes as London boroughs said they would give staff, such as refuse collectors and street cleaners, smartphones to report litter and vandalism through the Love Clean London app.


Picture: Gaetan Lee

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