Saturday, April 9, 2011

And another paper takes homeless people seriously as readers

When the San Francisco Chronicle and the rest of the mainstream press laid off or squeezed out good journalists, they didn't perhaps expect those good journalists to start publications that write about and for people who the Chronicle mainly views as a menace, not a readership. Now here's yet another news story in a new San Francisco publication, the SF Public Press, that's about and for homeless people.

The news is a new shelter lottery system. Numbered wristbands distributed in the morning, priority chosen by lottery drawing at 5 p.m., results posted 6:30, unclaimed beds redistributed at 7 p.m. Probably more efficient than the old method, but the time window for people to claim their beds seems a bit narrow. Guess we'll see how it goes.

My point being, the Public Press is presenting this as news-you-can-use in a way our last surviving "mainstream" newspaper wouldn't for fear of scaring its subscribers in Walnut Creek and Marin County. It's news that sure as hell affects and interests more people than the "Parties" section of the Sunday Chronicle.

I don't know how news like this is going to keep being paid for. Fortunately, people do keep finding a need to speak regardless of money.

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Here's another good one: Scott James again (q.v. below), debunking the Chronicle's implication that the city did all it could for the especially fragile campers it evicted from the Transbay Terminal at demolition time.

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