New Internationalist
New Internationalist is a magazine from New Internationalist Publications, a co-operative-run publisher based in Oxford, England. It has editorial and sales offices in Toronto, Canada; Adelaide, Australia; Christchurch
Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand, and the country's second-largest urban area after Auckland. It lies one third of the way down the South Island's east coast, just north of Banks Peninsula which itself, since 2006, lies within the formal limits of...

, New Zealand; and New York, USA.

It describes itself as "exist[ing] to report on the issues of world poverty and inequality; to focus attention on the unjust relationship between the powerful and powerless worldwide; to debate and campaign for the radical changes necessary to meet the basic needs of all; and to bring to life the people, the ideas and the action in the fight for global justice."

Originally the group only published the New Internationalist magazine, co-sponsored by Oxfam
Oxfam is an international confederation of 15 organizations working in 98 countries worldwide to find lasting solutions to poverty and related injustice around the world. In all Oxfam’s actions, the ultimate goal is to enable people to exercise their rights and manage their own lives...

, Christian Aid
Christian Aid
Christian Aid is the official relief and development agency of 40 British and Irish churches and works to support sustainable development, alleviate poverty, support civil society and provide disaster relief in South America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Africa and Asia...

 and the Cadbury and Rowntree Trusts
Rowntree trusts
The four Rowntree Trusts are funded from the legacies of the Quaker chocolate entrepreneurs and social reformers Joseph Rowntree andBenjamin Seebohm Rowntree. The trusts are based in the Rowntrees' home city ofYork, England...

. Today sponsorship is no longer needed, the magazine being completely self-funded through subscriptions, advertisements, and product sales. Besides the income earned from sales of the magazine, the group now produces film
A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...

s, book
A book is a set or collection of written, printed, illustrated, or blank sheets, made of hot lava, paper, parchment, or other materials, usually fastened together to hinge at one side. A single sheet within a book is called a leaf or leaflet, and each side of a leaf is called a page...

s and other materials for various United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 and related bodies concerned with world development.

The magazine has existed for over 30 years and currently is the largest progressive magazine in circulation in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

. It has recently won the UTNE Independent Media Award for "Best International Coverage" for the eighth time. It is a workers-run co-op
Worker cooperative
A worker cooperative is a cooperative owned and democratically managed by its worker-owners. This control may be exercised in a number of ways. A cooperative enterprise may mean a firm where every worker-owner participates in decision making in a democratic fashion, or it may refer to one in which...

 operating on a flat horizontal structure and strict ethical and environmental policies.


Two major UK aid agencies, Oxfam
Oxfam is an international confederation of 15 organizations working in 98 countries worldwide to find lasting solutions to poverty and related injustice around the world. In all Oxfam’s actions, the ultimate goal is to enable people to exercise their rights and manage their own lives...

 and Christian Aid
Christian Aid
Christian Aid is the official relief and development agency of 40 British and Irish churches and works to support sustainable development, alleviate poverty, support civil society and provide disaster relief in South America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Africa and Asia...

, wanted to encourage more people to understand the processes of 'development'. Simply giving to 'charity' was not enough. This point was driven home in 1969 when the Labour Government, with hardly any public outcry, cut overseas aid by more than the total raised by Oxfam and Christian Aid since their inception. The idea of a monthly magazine to discuss and debate development issues in a readable way was attractive. So the two agencies came together and formed a new publishing company, Devopress, with a subvention of £50,000 for the period 1973 - 1976. Devopress comprised three Christian Aid directors and three from Oxfam. The board took a lively interest in the editorial and marketing of the magazine, although the editorial line was independent.

Early issues of the New Internationalist included features on the Tan-Zam railway in Tanzania, interviews with President Kaunda
Kenneth Kaunda
Kenneth David Kaunda, known as KK, served as the first President of Zambia, from 1964 to 1991.-Early life:Kaunda was the youngest of eight children. He was born at Lubwa Mission in Chinsali, Northern Province of Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia...

 of Zambia
Zambia , officially the Republic of Zambia, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. The neighbouring countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the north-east, Malawi to the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to the south, and Angola to the west....

 and Bishop Helder Camara
Hélder Câmara
Dom Hélder Pessoa Câmara was Roman Catholic Archbishop of Olinda and Recife.He was known as the 'Bishop of Corum' and took a clear position with the urban poor....

 in Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

; Vietnam, drought in the Sahel
The Sahel is the ecoclimatic and biogeographic zone of transition between the Sahara desert in the North and the Sudanian Savannas in the south.It stretches across the North African continent between the Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea....

, and the legacy of Che Guevara
Che Guevara
Ernesto "Che" Guevara , commonly known as el Che or simply Che, was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, intellectual, guerrilla leader, diplomat and military theorist...

. It was an issue of the NI, in August 1973, that first drew attention to the irresponsible marketing of baby milk in the Third World by multinational companies.

The New Internationalist was launched as a monthly magazine in 1973. Its forerunner was The Internationalist
The Internationalist
The Internationalist was a magazine based in Seattle, Washington. Founded in July 2004, the Internationalist grew its readership to 65,000 nationally. In 2006, the publication was awarded a Bronze Eddie Award for editorial excellence. In the fall of 2006, the Internationalist discontinued its print...

, sent to members of the student development organisation Third World First, since renamed as People & Planet
People & Planet
People & Planet is a network of student campaign groups in the UK. It claims to be "the largest student campaigning organization in the country campaigning to alleviate world poverty, defend human rights and protect the environment."-Organization:...



In the early 1970s, probably highlighted by the war in Vietnam and the newly independent nations
Emerging nation
An emerging nation is a country that is on its way to becoming an industrialized nation. An emerging nation is a developing country that has achieved some industrial capacity like Brazil and India....

, people's attention was turning to the relationship between the West and the developing countries. The liberation struggles in Mozambique, Angola
Angolan War of Independence
The Angolan War of Independence began as an uprising against forced cotton cultivation, and became a multi-faction struggle for control of Portugal's Overseas Province of Angola with three nationalist movements and a separatist movement...

 and Namibia
Namibian War of Independence
See also South African Border War.The Namibian War of Independence, also known as the South African Border War, which lasted from 1966 to 1988, was a guerrilla war, which the nationalist South-West Africa People's Organization and others, fought against the apartheid government in South...

; the death of President Allende
Salvador Allende
Salvador Allende Gossens was a Chilean physician and politician who is generally considered the first democratically elected Marxist to become president of a country in Latin America....

 in Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

; China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 under Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao , was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, Marxist political philosopher, and leader of the Chinese Revolution...

 and Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

 with Castro
Fidel Castro
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz is a Cuban revolutionary and politician, having held the position of Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and then President from 1976 to 2008. He also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from the party's foundation in 1961 until 2011...

; Nyerere's brand of socialism
Ujamaa was the concept that formed the basis of Julius Nyerere's social and economic development policies in Tanzania just after it gained independence from Britain in 1961...

 in Tanzania
The United Republic of Tanzania is a country in East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south. The country's eastern borders lie on the Indian Ocean.Tanzania is a state...

; the 'Green Revolution
Green Revolution
Green Revolution refers to a series of research, development, and technology transfer initiatives, occurring between the 1940s and the late 1970s, that increased agriculture production around the world, beginning most markedly in the late 1960s....

' (high-yielding varieties of grains), and the 'trickle down' theory of economic growth: these were some of the things that people wanted to know more about.

The New Internationalist - with its strapline 'the people, the ideas and the action in the fight for world development' - offered its readers a radical analysis of rich-poor world relationships, looking critically at the effects of aid programmes, for example, and providing a refreshing alternative to the mainstream development and news channels, and mainstream media
Mainstream media
Mainstream media are those media disseminated via the largest distribution channels, which therefore represent what the majority of media consumers are likely to encounter...


Troubled times

From the outset the New Internationalist was aiming for self-sufficiency. It was vigorously promoted and its circulation grew steadily. But in 1975 things began to teeter: the effects of the 1973 oil crisis pushed up prices; inflation bit. The magazine (virtually all on subscription) very nearly folded when postal charges doubled in the space of one year.

Letters were written to organisations and friends warning them that the NI would close in 1976 unless it received financial help. Fortunately, enough groups felt the magazine was worth supporting and came forward with finance. They included Cadbury's and Rowntree's trusts, the Methodist church in the UK
Methodist Church of Great Britain
The Methodist Church of Great Britain is the largest Wesleyan Methodist body in the United Kingdom, with congregations across Great Britain . It is the United Kingdom's fourth largest Christian denomination, with around 300,000 members and 6,000 churches...

, Community Aid Abroad in Australia and Oxfam-Quebec in Canada. Their involvement meant that Christian Aid and Oxfam could scale down their own contribution a little.

Communications group

The magazine was central to the group's activities, and contributed income through the subscriptions. But clearly more funds were needed to safeguard the future until it became self-supporting. In 1974 the group had been commissioned by the United Nations Population Fund
United Nations Population Fund
The United Nations Population Fund is a UN organization. The work of the UNFPA involves promotion of the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity. This is done through major national and demographic surveys and with population censuses...

 (UNFPA) to produce a kit of materials to mark World Population Year. This was highly successful, earning income for the group, and the NI team looked for more work in this area. In the following years press' kits were produced for the World Health Organisation, the United Nations Environment Programme
United Nations Environment Programme
The United Nations Environment Programme coordinates United Nations environmental activities, assisting developing countries in implementing environmentally sound policies and practices. It was founded as a result of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in June 1972 and has its...

 and the UN Children's Fund. Other projects, including participation in BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 television's Global Report series, enhanced the reputation of the New Internationalist magazine and team.

Meanwhile, the Devopress company's connection with the New Internationalist was coming to an end. In 1978 the directors agreed on a further three years' funding, but the following year Devopress decided to pay the rest off in a lump sum. The financial link with Christian Aid and Oxfam was severed, but both agencies remained close to the New Internationalist company and continued to show their support in a number of ways.

Fortunately, by this time the magazine was thriving. The promotional effort had always been geared towards gaining subscriptions on standing order (and later direct debit). As many other publications foundered, partly because of their reliance on news-stand distribution, the NI began to look more solid.

Editorial policy

Several innovations had taken place in the magazine. In its early days, a wide range of subjects was covered in each issue. But in 1976 this changed. The idea of a part-work emerged, and each month's edition was devoted to one particular subject (for example Islam or World Food) to give the reader a comprehensive guide and analysis.

The magazine has been redesigned several times, most recently in April 2000. It moved to full-colour in 1993. Although its left-wing, Libertarian socialist leaning editorial line has remained broadly unchanged - it is non-party political and committed to radical change within and between rich and poor countries - the approach has been modified over the years. The NI nowadays is less Eurocentric and reflects broader concerns with environmental, gender and cultural angles in addition to social, economic and political ones. The magazine aims to reflect the views and concerns of its overseas subscribers as well as those in the UK. There is considerable emphasis on finding women contributors and writers and photographers from the South.

The use of the term 'Third World
Third World
The term Third World arose during the Cold War to define countries that remained non-aligned with either capitalism and NATO , or communism and the Soviet Union...

' - more or less unknown when the magazine started - is debated now and discarded by some. 'Majority World' and 'the South
North-South divide
The north–south divide is a socio-economic and political division that exists between the wealthy developed countries, known collectively as "the north", and the poorer developing countries , or "the south." Although most nations comprising the "North" are in fact located in the Northern Hemisphere ,...

' have become more widespread. 'Development' and 'sustainable development' similarly are contentious to some people - too long to go into the debates here - but the magazine still uses them as useful shorthand phrases. Reflecting this change, the magazine has also altered the strapline, which now reads 'the people, the ideas, the action in the fight for global justice'. In the NI today there is close identification with the issues and challenges people face, wherever they happen to live - the notion of one world or global village.

Some magazines are specially produced to tie in with campaigns. There have been issues on East Timor
East Timor
The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, commonly known as East Timor , is a state in Southeast Asia. It comprises the eastern half of the island of Timor, the nearby islands of Atauro and Jaco, and Oecusse, an exclave on the northwestern side of the island, within Indonesian West Timor...

, Western Sahara
Western Sahara
Western Sahara is a disputed territory in North Africa, bordered by Morocco to the north, Algeria to the northeast, Mauritania to the east and south, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Its surface area amounts to . It is one of the most sparsely populated territories in the world, mainly...

, Cambodia
Cambodia , officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia...

, Burma, Fair Trade
Fair trade
Fair trade is an organized social movement and market-based approach that aims to help producers in developing countries make better trading conditions and promote sustainability. The movement advocates the payment of a higher price to producers as well as higher social and environmental standards...

 (Coffee, Bananas and Cocoa), Homelessness
Homelessness describes the condition of people without a regular dwelling. People who are homeless are unable or unwilling to acquire and maintain regular, safe, and adequate housing, or lack "fixed, regular, and adequate night-time residence." The legal definition of "homeless" varies from country...

, Jubilee 2000
Jubilee 2000
Jubilee 2000 was an international coalition movement in over 40 countries that called for cancellation of third world debt by the year 2000. This movement coincided with the Great Jubilee, the celebration of the year 2000 in the Catholic Church...

 and UN Sanctions on Iraq.


Another major change in the NI has been structural. When it started, the company operated as a conventional hierarchy, albeit with much sharing and teamwork. In 1976 a more co-operative approach was adopted and developed over the years so that, although legally it was a limited company owned by the original shareholders, Peter and Lesley Adamson, the NI operated as a collective, with decision-making shared by all members on an equal footing. Equal pay came in 1987. The transfer of ownership from the Adamsons came about with the creation of Advisory Trustees and Employee Trustees, with the limited company being owned by New Internationalist Trust. The Co-op's legal status was achieved in June 1992.

Recent history

New Internationalist has a circulation of 75,000 and offices in New Zealand, Australia and Canada, in addition to the UK operation.

In addition to publishing the New Internationalist, since 1982 the team has produced its own full-colour One World Calendar in collaboration with a consortium of European aid agencies. Other one-off projects have included: a Peace Pack, a resource kit for anti-nuclear-weapons campaigners; a book to mark the end of the UN Decade for Women in 1985 and a television film for the UK's Channel 4
Channel 4
Channel 4 is a British public-service television broadcaster which began working on 2 November 1982. Although largely commercially self-funded, it is ultimately publicly owned; originally a subsidiary of the Independent Broadcasting Authority , the station is now owned and operated by the Channel...

 about women and food production in Africa (Man-Made Famine). This film provided the basis for a project to assess the use of video as a teaching device with rural women in Kenya
Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

. In 1987 they made another film, Girls Apart, which contrasted the lives of a black and a white girl in South Africa. This was shown in Britain on BBC2.

However the group felt it did not have the resources to make film a central part of its activities. As a result they looked to concentrating on areas of work which could be incorporated more readily into their existing operations - design and print.

The main initiative, begun early in 1988, was to extend the range of items sold by the NI to include a One World Almanac, T-shirts, mugs and other goods. These made a useful contribution to the NI's income which was ploughed back into the magazine — for example by introducing colour throughout the magazine in 1993 and switching to fully recycled paper in 1999.

In 1990, the range of products included the group's second major publication, The Food Book, which brought together recipes from around the world. There have been a further three books in this series. The NI now regularly publishes 2–5 titles a year, including many No-Nonsense Guides.

External links

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