Thursday, April 26, 2007

A sneak peak of tomorrow's Street Roots

Build a relationship with a vendor, help support that person and get some great news to boot!

This issue of Street Roots is jammed packed. Cover stories include a Q & A with Romeo Sosa with VOZ over the growing tension between businesses and the day laborer community. Also covered is an in-depth update on the on-going SAFE/sit-lie saga, along with a news piece on the Pangaea Project and a great look at the lack of TV election coverage. Street Roots also chimes in on Portland's four ballot measures! Columns this month include Paul Boden with the Western Regional Advocacy Project in San Fran and an open letter to City Hall by Copwatch's Dan Handelman. Act Now! asks people to take action to stop predatory loan sharks from ripping off the poor!

(For those of you wondering about the breaking story "Uniform Accountability" in the last SRs about the Portland Patrol, a private security group contracted by the Portland Business Alliance enforcing public policy (More than 300 park exclusions since November) in public parks with absolutely no public oversight - don't worry, there's more to come in future editions of SRs!!! Today's the last day to get this issue!!!)

Street Roots, along with the North American Street Newspaper Association, is featured in the Utne Reader this month. The article is a great look at the growing movement of street papers in North America and around the globe. The article also charges that street newspapers throughout North America are straying away from our grassroots upbringing in favor of “moving product.”

While it’s true street papers, in particular Street Roots, has moved to a more professional design and journalism – we have not moved away from our grassroots base. Several years ago vendors came to Street Roots and asked us to recreate the newspaper in a way that individuals would be proud to sell it.

We redesigned the paper with the help of professionals in the field. We hired a professional managing editor that has dedicated her life to community journalism. And we decided to broaden the scope of our news coverage to include a wider social justice movement. Over the years, Street Roots has featured regular columns by Sisters in Action, the Oregon Law Center, Northwest Constitutional Rights Center, Sisters of the Road and many more. We also decided as an organization to cover topics including immigration, environment, media consolidation, labor, and the war, along with issues related to poverty — locally, nationally and internationally.

Both the North American Street Newspaper Association and the International Network of Street Papers, a network of 80 papers in 27 countries, created the Street News Service. The news service allows street papers to share content worldwide. We can now rely on the voices of people on the ground around the globe, and not just those of Americans or high-minded intellectuals relaying messages from beyond our borders.
Street Roots, along with a growing number of street newspapers are starting to gain a voice in their respected communities by covering hard news, offering opinions, art and poetry from the streets and by incorporating the communities collective voice. For years homeless groups have been alienated from larger movements like affordable housing and labor because we where concentrating solely on the homeless individual — not what leads to homelessness. Now we are concentrating on both.

Is it possible to create new dialogues about issues that effect the entire community, including the poor, through collective journalism? We think so! And we hope to bring you that change through the pages of the newspaper — because that’s what we do. Thank you for being a part of that experience!

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