Tuesday, March 13, 2012

And, yeah, people do read street newspapers.

One of the rationales for the SXSW "Homeless Hotspot" nonsense is that people who buy street newspapers just do so "out of guilt" -- that it's really just a pity donation.

That is actually crap.

There are a bunch of good opportunities in street newspapers: people who sell them sometimes write for them, and anyway have a chance to read them for changes in programs, housing opportunities, reasons to show up at City Hall, etc. Not to mention your basic normal more-practical-than-you'd-think reasons to read a paper, like inspiration and community and gossip. Also street newspapers can also open that tiny little window of communication between poverty-world and the outside world.

For this ad firm to pretend street newspapers aren't read is worse than just plain admitting they're setting poor people up to prostitute themselves to Internet nerds for tips.

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