Independent Salford news and features magazine the Salford Star has finally made it back into print.
20,000 of the Star’s Spring 2015 editions are now being distributed by hand for free throughout Eccles, Swinton, Salford and beyond.
Around 8,000 copies have been put in shops, cafes, pubs, bookies, chippies and community centres, while the other 12,000 are being handed out by volunteers in town centres and door to door.
Like SalfordOnline.com, the Star is a community-focused news website: one which, although it publishes far fewer news articles, is highly considered in the local area.
They lead with an exclusive interview with Christopher Eccleston along with features on ‘social cleansing’, regeneration, and attacks on Salford City Mayor Ian Stewart.
For the past six years the magazine has been online-only, after a chronic shortage of funds forced it out of print.
They made a name for themselves as left-wing firebrands and the bane of Salford City Council’s life, with frequent investigative journalism exposing everything from education shortages to fuel poverty in Pendleton.
A 2014 move into new offices in Clifton’s Junction Eco Park has played well for the shoestring operation, which is mostly written and edited by volunteers.
Editor Stephen Kingston said: “We’ve always wanted to get back into print because we can reach people who either don’t know about the online website or haven’t got access to the net – the digital divide is as big as the wealth divide in Salford.
“Also some of the longer investigative articles aren’t really suitable for the website – no-one is going to read a 4,000 word piece on their mobile phone!
“We don’t hold the monopoly on investigative journalism in Salford – anyone’s free to do it, it’s just whether they have the will or not.”
Kingston denied the Star’s popularity had waned since they went online only.
“Far from it – its popularity has grown ridiculously with the stories being spread all over the world rather than just Salford like when we were in print. When [anti-fracking protests at] Barton Moss was kicking off we were getting over 100,000 readers per month, for example.”
And the Bury-born editor – who has lived in Salford for 35 years – was coy when it came to the cost of the operation, but told us the printing costs had been paid for by seven years of fundraising, selling Star-branded T-shirts and mugs.
He joked: “Like the Council, I’ll cite ‘commercial confidentiality’ – put in a FOI request to us [if you want to know]!”
However, he confirmed the magazine had enough backers to produce an Autumn edition, due out some time in September 2015.
Image: A Salford Star volunteer hands out copies of the magazine at Eccles Metrolink