Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Street Roots and NASNA featured in the Utne Reader

Street Roots along with the North American Street Newspaper Association is featured in the latest edition of the Utne Reader. The article called "Homeless Newspapers Head Uptown" is an interesting take on the street newspaper movement in North America. It asserts that street papers are doing more celebrity coverage to increase appeal and may be losing our grassroots appeal.

"For some street papers, this means a move away from a grassroots, participatory medium and the professionalization’ of the sector," says Kevin Howley, DePauw University professor. The article goes on to say papers are shifting to a more "middle class" content - local, national, international and entertainment news that grabs readers' interest.

While it's true Street Roots and other papers are shifting news content to appeal to a broader readership - I was under the impression that being able to network with other papers worldwide to deliver in-depth local, national, and international news was a sign of building a grassroots movement, not appeasing the middle class. I mean being able to bring the voices of community organizers and poor people from around the world to the streets of Portland through other street papers does seem a little trite - maybe we should go back to white intellectual professors telling us what's happening on the ground in Africa and South America, and stick to just covering homelessness in Portland. I mean, none of this stuff is connected, right?

The article goes on to talk about the international street newspaper movement and the work of more than 100 papers worldwide. Jake Thomas, a local Portland writer does a good job for the most part.


Anonymous said...

Ha! Maybe the Utne Reader's production and design staff is the one straying from the grassroots.

.comnground said...

Just found your blog, Israel, as I was setting up my own here in KS, and after reading the Utne story last month.

Good luck in your enterprises!

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