Social enterprise launches new local print title

Hannah Jordan
Friday, December 3, 2021

Social enterprise Social Streets has launched The Slice, a new, printed title for the residents of Tower Hamlets in London.

The Slice is printed at Reach’s Watford plant
The Slice is printed at Reach’s Watford plant

The free, 32pp full-colour title, which hit doorsteps on 16 November, has a first print run of 10,000 and is initially a biannual publication.

Social Streets founder Tabitha Stapely, whose background is in online journalism, said she anticipates that pagination will increase with the publication potentially moving to quarterly by its third issue. 

“There is such a massive appetite for it here,” she said. “We have a well-known online brand in the area, we’ve built great partnerships with the advertisers and have the content already and as a social enterprise there is a huge level of trust from the community.”

Stapely continued: “There was a need for a publication here, I think, because Tower Hamlets is so deprived it just couldn’t sustain the normal model for a print magazine and it needed something completely different. You could argue that it needs a print publication much more than other areas.

“There’s a thought that print reaches people that aren’t online but actually it is reaching people who simply haven’t found you online. It’s a supplementary way to raise awareness of your online product,” she adds. 

The publication is printed at Reach’s Watford plant and although Stapely would have preferred a local printer, she said that Reach won the job because of the huge amount of support it offered.

“We had a massive learning curve and Reach offered a great level of hand-holding as well as brilliant online functionality to make the transfer of files and colour management really easy. They’re just a very well-resourced company and also very affordable, despite there being a 25% increase in paper price two days before going to print - that was a curve-ball.” 

The Slice is entirely funded through advertising and is essentially a borough-wide, printed marketing vehicle for Social Streets’ four existing, online titles for Tower Hamlets’ neighbourhoods Roman Road, Bethnal Green, Whitechapel and Poplar.

“We already have a firm digital foundation and print is the final piece of the puzzle,” said Stapely.

“As a social enterprise that is trying to use journalism to strengthen a community, celebrate its diversity and unite people, our online focus is very heavily on cultural heritage and lived experiences of people in the borough. The content also encourages people to participate in borough activities as well as raising awareness of the local economy and pointing residents to those businesses. The print title is therefore an extension of that,” Stapely added.

Rather than a “passion-project” led by one person, Stapely, who employs around five in-house staff and a number of young trainees, said she saw the publication as a scalable and replicable, long-term solution.

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