The Contributor (street paper)
The June 2010 front page of The Contributor
|Type||Twice-monthly street newspaper|
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. 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.
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.
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. The award came with a $10,000 grant.
In July 2011, the newspaper sued Brentwood, Tennessee for banning all sales by street vendors. 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.
- Paine, Anne. "Homeless help spread the news". USA Today.
- Ghianni, Tim. "Finding home, one paper at a time". The Nashville Ledger.
- Farmer, Blake. "'Street Papers' Sold By Homeless Are Thriving".
- "Nashville homeless newspaper sales keep soaring". The Tennessean.
- "‘Contributor' Could See Record Sales In 2010".
- "Newspaper Distributed By Homeless Sees Record Sales".
- "Tasha French Winner of the 2009 Titans Community QB Award".
- Brandon Gee, 'Contributor pursues lawsuit against Brentwood', in The Tennessean, July 11, 2011