When we look at the underground press, volunteer labor plays an important role. As the sources are limited and small money in the sector, it is almost impossible to pay an avarage wage to the labor. That is the reason why, underground press provides its labor from volunteers.
Having volunteer has economical advantages for sure. However, it also has a lot of disadvantages. First of all, it is hard to find a qualified labor who took certain, neccessary training or/and had enough experience in the current field. Those volunteers are mostly young people who wants to get some experience and do not have a lot of financial obligations or people who already have current jobs but want to get involved in underground press because of their worldview/interests. In both sides, working volunteerly as a part of underground press definitely related to their world view. If you do not share the similar perspective with the underground press that you are part of, it is hard to work for it volunteerly. As a result, it is essential to determine your target audience as they are and will be your volunteers as well. Instead of gaining a wider readership, actually led to a decline in circulation , since many of the potential audience felt that their sectional interests were already better served by specialist publications that concentrated in grater detail on particular area. (Khiabany, G. 2000) In other words, in underground press sector, you need to have specific worldview, specific target audience who share the similar worldview with your press. After you recruit your volunteers, it is the first step in order to make them feel that they are not just working for your press but they can use your press as a chanel to express themselves.
Second of all, another disadvantages of having volunteer labor is, you can not be sure from the sustainability. As they are not tied to your underground press economically, it is understandable if they decide to move on from different field. For this case, it is important to have a certain person who is responsible from the volunteers. As a result, this person can observe the involvement process of the volunteers and strengthen volunteers’ ties by using certain methods like one-to-one discussions to get feedback as well as setting new goals for them in order to keep them still interested in the subject. Of course, it will help to broaden the horizons of the volunteers to keep them in the organization. However, I believe giving different job descriptions also very crucial. For a volunteer, it is important to enjoy and improve her/his potentials. If a certain person does same things, first it may seem interesting to learn and challange themselves but after a while, it becomes monotone and not very enjoyable. That’s why, periodicly shifting the vacancies and encouring volunteers to work in different areas will make them enthusiactic to stay more in the underground press.
In conclusion, it is hard to run a underground press as the sources are scarce. However, using different strategies will help the organization to figure out what they should not do and what they should do by making mistakes. Making mistakes is not a fault but making same mistakes again and again and not learning from them is not realistic and rationalistic.
Khiabany, G. (2000) “Red Pepper: a New Model for the Alternative Press?”, in Media, Culture and Society, vol. 22, no. 4, pp. 447-463