SchNEWS was born in a squatted Courthouse in Brighton
in 1994 as part of Justice? - Brighton's campaign against the Criminal
Justice Act. A few bright sparks decided to start reading out the
news. Some of those bright sparks then decided to put some of it
on paper - nearly ten years later and we're still printing! From
the anti road protests at the M11
in London to the Newbury Bypass
to the big Reclaim The Streets
events of the nineties SchNEWS was there. From worker's struggles
such as the Liverpool Dockers,
fights against privatisation of public services to reporting on
social centres and sustainable futures - week in week out SchNEWS
reported the news from the direct action frontlines.
Then in February 1998 some of the crew went to Geneva to the first
Global Action conference. Here we met people involved in grassroots
movements from across the world, swapped stories, made friendships
and began to see the bigger picture, and with many others who had
been involved in localised direct action campaigns, our attention
now turned to also attacking the corporate carve-up of the entire
planet while supporting the diverse small-scale alternatives. The
first signs of this new shift was in May 1998 when mass demonstrations
were held world-wide simultaneously against the G7 Summit in Birmingham,
then again on June
18th 1999 (J18). But it was the mass protests against the WTO
in November 1999 that really brought this 'movement' to the
It's impossible to know how many people read SchNEWS every week,
particularly now with the internet. Out of the 2,000 that get printed
(more for big festies and demos) 650 get posted out each week to
everyone from subscribers to bookshops to around 50 prisoners around
the world who get it each week for free. Add to that over 11,500
email subscribers, many of whom get it as a PDF* file (so it looks
exactly like the real thing). While many photocopy and distribute
their paper copy locally, PDF files allow people all over the world
to print out SchNEWS, and distribute it, before it's even hit the
streets in Brighton! We often hear from people who print out PDFs
and distribute each week - at infoshops or wholefood shops, on campuses
and out on the streets, all over the world. Added to that popular
sites like Urban
75 mirror SchNEWS each week, while A-Infos
news service email it out internationally to subscribers, and the
odd issue gets translated into other languages - someone even put
a SchNEWS site out in Russian at one stage! So as well as the sixteen
thousand or so who visit the SchNEWS site each week, it is hard
to work out how many we reach altogether, especially after we've
added an RSS Feed, allowing people
to read SchNEWS via news aggregators.
Our Party and Protest section is
the most popular feature on our website, updated every week with
a mishmash of festival dates, meetings and demos as well as a section
on where to go if you want to find out radical contact points around
the country. Our DIY guide has
useful tips on everything from setting up your own newsletter to
making your own bio-diesel. We also try to continually update our
contacts list - currently listing
over 800 useful grassroots organisations.
SO WHO FUNDS ALL THIS ?
SchNEWS is run on a voluntary basis - no one gets paid. Tho' we
do manage to blag free into gigs and festivals (to spread the word
of course) and when our treasurer's not looking, raid the petty
cash tin for biscuit money. Our stories originate anywhere from
anarchist literature to the dodgy Financial Times (no, really),
from conversations in the pub to the internet. While we always try
to be as accurate as possible and chase people up to verify the
stories, the idea behind SchNEWS is not to believe the printed word,
but to get up off yer arse
and go and see for yourself. So articles are often first hand accounts
from trusted sources or ourselves as we storm all over the country
causing trouble/saving the world/having a laugh.
As for who keeps us going... Well, since our office rent was introduced
we reckon to be spending around £24,000 a year on rent, printing,
stamps, telephone, computers, envelopes, stationary, e-mail accounts,
(biscuits)... we rely entirely on subscriptions, benefit gigs and
our readers' generosity to keep us afloat.
Finally, SchNEWS is an open collective, we are always looking for
new people to get involved. So if you like reading the news the
mainstream tends to ignore (or at best turns into a crap lifestyle
feature, rather than why an action is going on) take a look in the
next column and see if anything grabs your fancy.
WAKE UP! WAKE UP! - IT'S YER TYPICAL SchNEWS
- Monday/Tuesday evening: We get well over 500 emails a week,
and a few people have the job of going though all these, answering
queries and deciding which ones might become stories.
- Wednesday: Start writing and researching SchNEWS, go through
mail, decide roughly what we are going to cover this week.
- Thursday: More writing, except it's usually a bit more frantic
cos we've got to get it all finished and last minute updates come
in. Writers go to pub.
- Thursday early evening: Desk Top Publishing crew come in and
stuff, somehow managing to crush a tonne of information into two
A4. DTPers usually make it to pub.
- Thursday bit later in the evening: Web crew come in, SchNEWS
gets put on the web and emailed out to thousands across the globe.
Web crew never
get to pub. Honest.
- Friday 9 a.m.: Hot off the press. A bleary-eyed person prints
up the SchNEWS at the Resource Centre for distribution round Brighton
to the office for...
- Friday afternoons: The mail out crew sends it out to all our
- Weekends: Depending on the weather/time of year you might see
us at festivals, gigs or conferences or handing out SchNEWS to
passers by in
And there's more: During the week the subscription database is
constantly being updated, letters answered, book orders posted,
journalist queries answered and the next SchNEWS book being sorted.
Still interested? Then give the office a call. We have regular training
days, but if you can't wait for them, give the office a ring now
on 01273 685913. Don't let the fact that SchNEWS comes out every
week lull you into a false sense of security! We constantly need
more people to
get involved. We guestimate SchNEWS reaches around 50,000 people
Not bad for a scrappy no-adverts no-compromise bit of A4, eh?
Last updated August 2006
* PDF file - Portable Document Format,
a file format which allows all types of computers to reproduce an
article in a graphics layout. To view and print these files you
need Adobe Acrobat (free to get off the internet) or other PDF viewers.
To subscribe to SchNEWS for free either as 'PDF' or normal plain
text file click here.
** Can you make out a standing order to help with paying our rent
or just want to bung us a fiver towards this weeks printing costs?
Find out how by going to: ../extras/help.htm