Star & Crescent is an independent news website that believes in journalism to create social change.
We aim to:
- Hold power to account
- Provide a platform on which to raise up missing and marginalised voices
- Inspire debate about the real issues that affect local people
- Increase local interest and involvement in politics
- Big up the city as a lively, creative and cultural place to live, work and study
How do we do this?
- Publishing voices that are often missing, or under-represented in the mainstream media – for example, residents in our poorest communities, community activists, BAME communities, people with disabilities, LGBT voices, and women
- Working directly with local public services and the voluntary sector to amplify their voices and experiences
- Acting as a platform for local investigative reporting and well-researched journalism
- Sharing voices from across the political spectrum
- Using satire to bring local politics to a wider audience
- Regularly publishing local poets and authors
- Sharing Portsmouth’s untold and unknown histories
We think good journalism can help shape the world for the better, but we’re starting right here in Portsmouth.
S&C is managed and operated by a small team, who work on a voluntary and freelance basis to run our website, social media and engage with local residents and communities.
What does working on both a freelance and voluntary basis mean?
It means that our team only get paid when we have funding. We have a small number of monthly donors whose donations go towards running the costs of our website.
In addition to this, since we began in 2015, we have been lucky enough to receive funding for specific projects that allow us to pay our team for their work. These include:
- A research project with the innovation charity, NESTA, in 2016/17, Destination Local
- Talking to journalists from all over the world about our ‘virtual newsroom’ in the Digital Identities project, powered by Google News Lab, in 2017
- Our Editor in Chief, Sarah Cheverton, was awarded funding in 2017/18 as a social entrepreneur by UnLtd, the social enterprise support charity, to redesign the website, register S&C as a legal entity, and develop our business planning
- Working with the Centre for Investigative Journalism in 2018 to train 12 local residents as community reporters on our Reclaim The News programme
- Working with children and young people in 2019, via two local colleges and a local school – thanks to funding from Pompey’s own Victorious Festival – to showcase the reporting and writing of local young people, in our Young People’s Voices project
- Funding from the University of Portsmouth to deliver workshops on power-mapping and research skills, as well as to create our first book, Pompey Writes
To give you an idea of how much we can do with a tiny amount of money, since we began in February 2015, we have run Star & Crescent on an income of approximately £15,000 – £17,000 – over the whole 5 years. Imagine what we could do with at least that same amount every year!
Beyond these projects, our core team also have other jobs and commitments that we fit around S&C.
Even with our small and dedicated core team, there’s no way we could have achieved a fraction of what we’ve done so far. In addition, we work with:
- to date, more than 150 local residents, who have worked directly with us to tell the stories that matter to them
- a wide range of local charities, voluntary sector organisations and community groups who work closely with us to share their experiences on behalf of the communities they serve
- our Community Reporting team, who we trained on our Reclaim the News programme, and many of whom are still writing and reporting for us today
- professional and aspiring local writers
- a large number of University students from all disciplines, who have written for us, reported for us, volunteered and most recently, undertaken placements with us
From the beginning, our mission has always been the same: to provide independent and reliable local news and views, written by and for the people of Portsmouth.
You don’t have to be a professional writer for your work to appear on S&C, nor do you have to have been published before. That’s because we love working directly with local residents, organisations and groups on the stories and issues that matter most to you.
We only ask that reporting is fair and balanced, showing all sides of a story, where possible, and that other forms of writing – features, opinion pieces, op-eds, etc – make clear their position and are always accurate.
We reserve the right to edit submissions where necessary, however, we work with contributors during this process, and submissions may be withdrawn at any time.
Who do we work with?
S&C is a member of IMPRESS, the first recognised and truly independent press regulator, which came out of the Leveson Inquiry (before it was abandoned by subsequent governments). Our membership of IMPRESS means that S&C is held to a more rigorous standard than most local newspapers in the UK.
For more on IMPRESS and our complaints and corrections policy, click here.
We are also proud to be members of the Independent Community News Network, which exists to support independent, community news publishers like us, and ‘to promote quality journalism, help address the democratic deficit in news poor communities and help create more jobs at the local level’.
Truly Independent, Local News
S&C has no party political affiliations. We aim to act as a platform for a diverse range of viewpoints across Portsmouth and to this end, we have worked with politicians and councillors from all mainstream political parties, as well as independent candidates.
We work with local individuals and groups who are working to make a change for Portsmouth.
As our editorial policy at the top of the page makes clear, we also prioritise voices and perspectives that are missing from the local mainstream and commercial media. And we do this without influence or funding from advertisers, sponsors, corporate owners, or local institutions.
Star & Crescent Community Media CIC
In December 2017, after two years of running with no legal status as an informal community collective, we founded S&C Community Media, CIC, a not for profit social enterprise.
The Community Interest Company (CIC) has three directors:
- Sarah Cheverton, Co-founder and Editor in Chief
- Tom Sykes, Co-founder and Features Editor
- Angela Cheverton, Finance Officer
As we continue to grow, we aim to recruit a community board to help our three Directors expand and develop S&C further.
In addition, we have two other team members:
- Paris Ali-Pilling, Community Reporter and Social Media Manager
- Paul Beresford, Sub-Editor
But the people who make the most difference to us, every day, are the people of Portsmouth.