SchNEWS was a free weekly publication that focused on environmental and social issues/struggles in the UK and internationally. It emphasized direct action protest and autonomous political struggles outside formalized political parties. The publication was run by unpaid volunteers and was financially supported by donations from readers and subscribers rather than regular funding channels. Its strapline and motto were “information for action,” which aimed to provide readers with necessary information and contacts to become proactively involved in political issues.
SchNEWS started in 1994 in Brighton out of the campaign against the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 called Justice?. The newsletter was initially meant to act as a collective memory for the groups formed under the Justice? banner. It quickly built up a national readership, gaining popularity for presenting news in a concise, witty, and jargon-free language. It covered various social and environmental struggles in the UK and abroad, such as the protests against the building of the M11 motorway link road in London, the anti-Newbury bypass protests in Berkshire, and the actions of Reclaim the Streets. Later, it focused on more international issues such as neo-liberalism and the anti-war movement.
While the final editions of SchNEWS looked very similar to the initial issues – two sides of A4 crammed with text – its subject matter and readership transformed by the rise of the internet. In 2000, it joined Indymedia and other alternative media on the internet to reach an international audience, and the content broadened accordingly. SchNEWS was a non-commercial enterprise and carried no advertising. It relied on revenue from subscriptions, benefit gigs, and donations.
SchNEWS also produced short films called SchMOVIES, which were free to download. The website contains an archive of contact lists and back issues, as well as a repository for films and satirical graphics. The most well-used part of the site is the Party & Protest listings, covering demonstrations, events, meetings, screenings, benefit gigs, and festivals.
In September 2014, the team behind SchNEWS ended regular publication.