The Contributor (street paper)

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The Contributor

The June 2010 front page of The Contributor
Type Twice-monthly street newspaper
Format Tabloid
Founder(s) Tasha French
Editor Andrew Krinks
Founded 2007
Circulation 110,000 monthly
Official website

The Contributor is a monthly street newspaper published in Nashville, Tennessee, United States. The paper began publishing twice monthly in March 2012, on every other Wednesday of each month. The Contributor is sold by homeless and formerly homeless people (vendors) who purchase papers for 25¢ each and resell them on the street for $1 each plus tips - keeping the entire profit of the sale.[1] The paper's content focuses on issues surrounding homelessness and poverty and is written by local journalists as well as people experiencing homelessness or working within the homeless community.

Vendors of The Contributor have a 30% rate of finding housing using income from their paper sales.[2]


Some of the more than 400 homeless and formerly homeless vendors of The Contributor.
Some of the more than 400 homeless and formerly homeless vendors of The Contributor.

The Contributor was established in 2007 by a core group of volunteers. The first issue was published in November of that year and had a circulation of about 800 copies. The paper publishes consistently on a monthly basis and has greatly expanded its circulation and vendor network to become the highest-circulating street newspaper of its kind in North America—circulating more than 100,000 papers per month.[3][4][5][6]

In 2010, The Contributor received 501(c)(3) status, becoming an independent non-profit organization. One of the founders of The Contributor received the Tennessee Titans Community Quarterback award for their volunteer efforts with the paper.[7] The award came with a $10,000 grant.

In July 2011, the newspaper sued Brentwood, Tennessee for banning all sales by street vendors.[8] In August 2013, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati upheld a 2012 U.S. District Court’s decision that Brentwood’s prohibition on the newspaper’s street sales didn’t trample on freedom of speech. On August 28, 2013, the Contributor's Executive Director Tasha French Lemley announced that the paper would cease publication within 6 weeks without additional funding from private donors.

The Contributor is one of many street newspapers in the United States, including Real Change in Seattle, Washington and Spare Change News in Boston, Massachusetts.


The Contributor is a member of the North American Street Newspaper Association and the International Network of Street Papers.


External links[edit]