is a situation that is very evident in today’s society.
Although it is not seen everywhere it is a problem and is growing
form year to year. It is more evident in the large cities.
Also growing from year to year is technology. The homeless
people are not in tune to this technology and often not offered
it. This is a problem because as technology soars the
homeless people are becoming more and more out of touch with
it. They also are not allowed any voice.
is a huge part of today’s society and the homeless have no access
to it. If they are allowed access to it, it can open up
endless possibilities. Over the past decade homeless people
in the big cities decided that they need a voice, so they started
numerous publishing’s which allows the homeless themselves to
speak to the world. From street newspapers to journals there
are a number of publishing that are written by and for the homeless.
Some examples are Street Wise, which is a newspaper for the
homeless and Journal of Ordinary Thought, which is a journal
in which homeless people write poems for.
are many different types of journalism present in the society
today. The homeless people’s journalism is unique and
differs from all the others. Most types are trying to
write for a specific audience or purpose. Most write because
they have to, or are getting paid to, but not the homeless.
They write straight from the heart. They talk about real
issues and the real consequences. This is what makes their
writing so unique and interesting.
is today’s society plays a big role. There are so many
different forms of it around. There is the normal journalism,
which we see in our newspaper and. This type of writing
is mainly to inform people of what is going on. The reporters
report on the news and interesting events. Sometimes they
put their opinion in, but a majority of the time it is just
straight facts on what is going on in the world. Then
there is the journalism that we see in the national inquirer
and things like that. This is the type that satirizes
people or things that are going on. The main purposes
of this is usually to make fun of, or destroy peoples reputation.
The journalism that we see in our magazines is usually intended
for a specific audience. Different magazines write for
different age groups, sex, racial background, areas of interest,
and many more things. Their target is usually the group
that they are trying to sell their magazine to. So they
will write what that person wants to read. The list of
different types of journalism goes on and on. But there
is one specific type that strikes me. This is the writing by
by the homeless people for the homeless people has grown immensely
over the past decade. There are many types of street newspapers
in circulation today. A street newspaper is a specific
newspaper that the homeless people publish and sell to keep
people informed and to make a living. These are growing
year by year and many of the big cities have one. Another
very interesting publication is the “Journal of Ordinary Thought”,
this is a listing of poems that homeless people themselves have
written. I found all of the poems very interesting because
they are the truth. The people writing them are not trying
to impress a certain group or inform anybody, they are just
writing from their heart. I believe that this is the best
type of writing or journalism around, because it is the truth
and it is real life. These street newspapers are not only
in the U.S. but they are becoming present across the entire
world. France, United Kingdom, England, and many other
countries have similar publications foe the homeless.
This writing not only is interesting but it gives a homeless
person something to do and make themselves feel good.
was one of the very first street newspapers in the U.S. (Donaton,
Scott 45) It is sold by homeless people in New York City,
and in February 1990, increased its frequency to twice a month
instead of just once. It also expanded its selling to
15 other cities within that year. They will be sold in
cities like Chicago, Los Angles, and Washington. Advertisers
fund the paper. Each issue of the 28-page newspaper has
at least 10 pages of ads. A large portion of the newspapers
revenues ends up in the pockets of the people selling them,
which are the homeless. They buy the paper for 20 cents
and turn around and sell it for 75 cents. (Donaton, Scott 45)
Since 1990 the paper has grown enormously, it now has online
editions and is providing thousands of homeless people with
jobs. There has also been about 50-70 street newspapers
emerge during the 90s.(3)
that are published in these homeless newspapers are worthy of
being kept in libraries, but the press often neglects them.
Issues that are dealt with in these newspaper focus on poverty.
“According to the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty,
between 1 and 2 million people experienced homelessness during
1996” (Dodge, Chris 60). Other studies have suggested
that as many as 7-12 million people have been homeless at some
time. Homelessness is growing in the big cites and has
been over the past ten years. The mass media usually covers
homelessness as something that affects “other people” not regular
people. Street newspapers don’t do that, they cover the
real issues and make homelessness a reality. The viewpoints
in the newspapers are extremely different than that of the corporate
press. An example of this is, that most street newspapers
list free-meal sites, legal services, and shelters. Some
also report on the weather that affects the homeless.(Dodge,
not only interact with the homeless but they also include the
middle class. An example is in Chicago’s Streetwise each
issue includes a listing of services for homeless people as
well as nonprofits seeking material donations. This type
of interaction is shown in many of the other street papers.
(Dodge, Chris 60)
type of newspaper is the Street Spirit, which is in San Francisco.
This newspaper is social change journalism. A majority
of the articles in it have to deal with laws and ways to help
the homeless. Unlike all the other street newspapers,
this one does not carry any advertising. It also carries
powerful original artwork. Although this was an effective
paper it was shut down after a series of reports documenting
physical abuses at the largest psychiatric facility in Contra
Costa County, due to public protest. (Dodge, Chris 60)
One of the
main concerns of these street newspapers is that they don’t
get enough credit. Of the 40 papers that are listed in
the North American Street Newspaper directory, which is maintaned
by the National Coalition for the Homeless, only 11 are held
by any local public library. The libraries often give
these newspapers second-class status. They do not acquire
them and archive them like they would with magazines and stuff
like that. In Baltimore, the Street Voice editor Curtis
Price wrote “The main branch library here (Pratt) always removes
SV from its table of free literature and actively discourages
visibly homeless [people] form loitering on the premises.”
(Dodge, Chris 60) Activist of these papers feels that
they should have a place in libraries because they are part
of the history of the nation. They believe that in order
to serve all of the people of their communities they should
offer collection that would help to better serve the poor and
homeless of that community. The street newspaper is a good way
to start. (Dodge, Chris 60)
a street newspaper was recently started. This recent magazine
publication hit the streets in December. Articles were
about poverty and homelessness, there were also guides to community
events and service available for the homeless. Of the
magazines 32 pages, five of them were in Spanish. This
helps them reach everyone. Timothy Harris, chairman of
the NASNA and founder of two street newspapers says “ The homeless
are like any minority group: they need media coverage because
the mainstream media doesn’t cover our issues”.( Glasgow, Kathy
Street Newspaper Across
interest in the popular street newspapers has grown throughout
the world. One of the leading publications in the world
is in London, England. It is known as “The Big Issue”,
this is a magazine that is published every two weeks and is
sold by the homeless. It encourages articled that are
written by the homeless. It also helps them earn an income.
(Hutchings, Vicky) This magazine was started in September
of 1991. (Perry, Sheila & Cross Maire) From the spring
of 1993 onward a string of these popular publications appeared
in France. They focused primarily on homelessness and
were not in any competition with the conventional news media.
There are also street newspaper present in the U.K and many
Journal of Ordinary
of Ordinary Thought is a publication that is produced by the
homeless. In this publication homeless people are given
the chance to write poems and submit them to it to be published.
(The Journal of Ordinary Thought) While I was reading
over several issues the writing really struck home. I
think that the reason I liked it so much was that it wasn’t
fake. I could tell than an ordinary person just like myself
was writing. That kept my interests and kept me wanting
to read more. Every single one of the pomes that was present
in it was true. They were about real life situations and
dealt with real problems. You could tell that the authors
were not writing to impress anyone, they were writing because
they liked to. I believe that is the best kind of writing
there is, the ones that come directly form your heart.
of Ordinary Thought is not the only publication that allows
homeless authors to express themselves. There are many
more, there are even ones online now. They are sites they
are dedicated to only homeless people. They can get onto
them and post something that they want to write. There
are also many discussion boards for the homeless present on
the Internet. These are simply places where homeless people
can go and discuss certain topics with other homeless people
across the nation and world. This is a growing popularity
and helps the homeless to learn how to communicate with one
Analysis of Certain
I am going
to analyze a few poems that I found in The Journal of Ordinary
thought and give my opinion on what makes them different from
the every day journalism and why I like them.
poem is titled “ What Bothers Me” by Bettina Van Pelt
I don't mind being alone
There are a lot of things
I can do when I'm alone
I can crochet myself a sweater
or make a dress for someone else.
I can read a book or simply go to sleep.
I can do a dance or just take a bath
I can make plans for the days to come.
Or I can daydream myself to a place
that's lovely, fresh, and clean.
I really don't mind being alone.
Nope. I sure don't.
It's the loneliness
I feel in a crowd
of laughing people,
that's what bother's me.
poem a homeless person is writing about loneliness. She
mentions all the different things that she can do when she is
alone. Then she mentions that she doesn’t mind being alone.
This shows that she is used to that feeling and is trying to
make the best of it. The thing that bothers her is the
loneliness she feels when she is in a crowd of people.
This lady evidently is alone but she is happy.
poem is titled “ Damn this Love” by Penny Holmes
I tried to keep focused
On my work
I chose you because you did not appear to
You looked common
Common. You seemed common
I needed affection
I needed a
Person. I needed flesh
You noticed me
I noticed you noticing me
I needed what you were willing to give
You were so appropriate
You gave me space
You gave me sex
You gave me an ear when I wanted one
You went away when I asked
And now I'm all messed up
I can't think
I can't write
I can't see
You did everything right
"What did you do wrong?"
I'm not supposed to be in love with you
You were supposed to be for my needs
For my pleasure
For my use
But -- somehow -- you have overwhelmed
Damn this love
Damn this love
is a poem about love. We all can relate to that.
Love is a common every day feeling that most people have.
Yet in this poem it talks about why she had to fall in love.
The author mentions the only reasons that she was with this
guy. They were just stupid reasons, yet she fell in love
with him. She seems upset about this because she did not
want to fall in love. This is shown in the last two lines,
which say “ Damn this love”. The reason she probably did
not want to fall in love is because she knows that he can’t
support her and she can’t support him. This is common
and it is shown in this poem perfectly.
and final poem that I am going to analyze is “Life (Less)” by
Foreign land trampled
Foreign people stole
Foreign traditions passed
Foreign history told
Education not equipped
Health care none
Drugs and guns...the income
Are we dead or alive?
a poem evidently about homeless people. It mentions the
struggles that they go through. It also talks about all
the things they have to do in order to survive. This is
a very powerful poem and you wouldn’t find it in your normal
book of poems.
population is growing year by year. The technology is
also growing rapidly. In order to help the homeless we
must allow they to communicate with each other. If this
means teaching them the Internet and how to use it, then so
be it. I definitely think that the street newspapers and
other resources that I have talked about are helping the homeless
have the street newspapers and other journals help homeless
people communicate but that have also give them job opportunities.
This business can help many homeless people survive, by simply
selling the publications. That was one of the main goals
when they first started. I think that they have achieved
that very well.
thing that sets homeless writing apart from the every day journalism
that most people experience is the realism. The homeless
authors aren’t afraid of what other people are going to think.
They write because they want to, and they write the real life
situations, even if they are not perfect. These writing
are extremely powerful and unique. We should strive to
encourage homeless people to keep writing and communicating
with other people in the world.