Sunday, May 29, 2011 – Diane Dietz reports on street newspapers on the front page of the business section (D) in The Register-Guard: Papers provide jobs and a voice – Homeless vendors and writers gain from a growing trend:
“A new form of hand-to-mouth economics has emerged in Eugene during the past 1½ years with the development of the Oregon Vagabond street newspaper.
The paper is the latest manifestation of a two-decade old national street newspaper movement devoted to helping urban homeless people earn a little money and eventually find a way off of the streets.
Homeless people write the stories. Homeless vendors buy the papers from the publishers — generally for 25 cents apiece — and sell them on the streets for $1, plus any tips they earn. The 31 street papers nationally are seen as an antidote to motivation-sapping handouts as well as to the isolating practices of begging or panhandling.
“It was a response to the rise of modern day homelessness in urban environments throughout the United States,” said Israel Bayer, director at Street Roots, the Portland street paper that began in 1999.
The content in the papers varies. Some focus on stories from the streets, others dig into issues related to poverty and others have an entertainment bent for maximum saleability.
Celebrities often contribute. Each year, for example, a Portland Trail Blazer offers himself for a page-one story in Street Roots.
The street papers have developed a surprisingly sophisticated infrastructure, including a trade group, the North American Street Newspaper Association, and an annual convention — this year in October in Nashville.
Like mainstream newspapers, the street newspapers share their articles for publication through a news service, the 9-year-old international Street News Service. In addition, the Reuters News wire service donates content to the street papers….”
Click here to read Dietz’s full article with photos by Paul Carter, an in-depth report in The Register-Guard on street newspapers and The Oregon Vagabond.