The Sounds of Salford have teamed up with some local talent, young and old, to raise funds for the Salford Star Magazine.
After 13 years and 5,000 articles later, the Salford Star is at risk of closing down. Currently the Salford Star gets no funding and relies heavily on generous donations from the public and passionate voluntary work.
Speaking with the Editor and co-founder, Stephen Kingston, we discussed why Salford needs the Salford Star, the work they have previously done and why it should be saved.
“It started 13 years ago when residents were having their houses knocked down in Whit Lane, the residents of whit lane demanded a voice. So, within 6 months we had a massive glossy, bigger than A4, magazine out that shook Salford to its foundations”.
In the background, all the people who advertise with us, were gradually one by one pulling out, because of pressure we believe came from the council”.
But why has the Salford Star lost all their money?
What was the initial reaction from the public?:
“The first issue we ever did, we had a choice for the cover. We had a Christopher Eccleston exclusive interview or we had a guy called Tiny who was an ex-docker and was about to have his house knocked down. So we consulted our community and said who do you reckon would be the most important to put on the cover and they said Tiny. The very first thing we did was take a copy down to the leader of the Salford City Council at the time, they were on the phone within 10 minutes screaming at us. We went down to the precinct and gave it out. There was actually a traffic jam around the precinct because the taxi drivers wouldn’t move their cabs because they were all reading the Salford Star. The response was incredible, we hadn’t seen anything like it”.
What are some of the biggest stories and campaigns to come out of the Salford Star?:
“Well obviously the housing, because for me that’s the biggest issue in Salford. Particularly the planning scandals where developers haven’t been paying their section 106 fees and providing affordable housing – that’s been ongoing since issue one. When councilors have been knocking on doors during local elections, that’s the subject that comes up the most. So what we have been able to do, is actually put that issue onto the political agenda and the council are now changing their policies – well as we understand, still waiting for it. So that’s a real victory for us”.
“People who have had bad housing who we have gone to interview and we have said to the housing association that we won’t run the story if you sort these people out, which they inevitably do. So little things like that, that don’t even get into print is massive. Salford Council don’t respond to us, they haven’t for 5 years, but they do respond to the articles behind the scenes”.
Print forms of news, local newspapers especially, have been struggling for years to compete with the easily accessible and widely available digital journalism. The sheer speed at which a story can go from breaking to being published online is something which print will never be able to compete with. Stephen argues that print journalism is still more important than online, as some stories take time to investigate and to build up over time, hence why he believes the Salford Star needs to be saved.
“I think print in more important that online to be honest, because some stories are quite complicated, particularly when writing about financing. So if you write a 2000 word article on the web, nobody reads it. Who is going to read a 2000 word article on their smartphone, I wouldn’t! Print is far more powerful, people seem to think there is still more creditability than online and broadcast”.
How did the Benefit CD come about?
“Simon Williams from the Sounds of Salford did it because obviously they support our work and wanted to see us continue. All the best bands and artists in Salford have given us their tracks for free”.
Artists include The Moods, Chris Flynn, Nicola Greenwood and Buckers.
Sounds of Salford radio has produced a benefit CD, titled All Materials of Value Have Been Removed, and 13 top bands and singers from Salford and around Greater Manchester have donated tracks. It costs £5 with all proceeds going to help the Star survive.
Why does Salford need the Salford Star?
If you would like to buy the benefit CD to help the Salford Star, follow this link.