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Street News is a street newspaper sold by homeless in New York Citymarker, USAmarker. Established in 1989, it is the earliest modern street paper still extant and the beginning of the American street newspaper movement. It aimed to provide a way of self-sufficiency to the many homeless and unemployed in New York. The creation of Street News quickly inspired the founding of many other street newspapers, including Chicagomarker's StreetWise and Britainmarker's The Big Issue; the paper has been called a "pioneer" for the street paper movement. Street News and The Big Issue have become prototypes of street papers worldwide.

 the editor is John Levi "Indio" Washington Jr. Street News prints 3,000 copies of six issues per year, sold by 15 people getting 75 cents out of the $1.25 price.


History

Street News was founded in October 1989 by rock musician Hutchinson Persons, and was originally funded by the homelessness charity Street Aid, also started by Persons. It was launched with advertisement in regular media and garnered wide media attention. Sales grew very quickly from an initial 50,000 copies to over a million sold in its first four months of publication. Celebrities such as Paul Newman, Liza Minnelli and the Beach Boys contributed opinion pieces. It sold for 75 cents, with the sellers getting 45 cents (plus the the first 10 copies free).

The initial media and public excitement about the paper eventually faded, and the paper experienced financial troubles in the early 1990s; Some staff left and started the short-lived Crossroads Magazine. The paper was taken over by its printer, Sam Chen of Expedi Printing, and Persons left the paper. Chen attempted to turn a a profit from Street News, but financial problems continued into the mid-nineties, with changing public attitude towards the homeless, low content and attempts by the city to sweep away homeless. Furthermore, in 1991 New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority instituted a policy prohibiting the hawking of newspapers on the subways, which had been vendors' main selling place; this added to Street News troubles. By the mid-1990s, Street News sales had dropped significantly and some predicted that the newspaper was going to end. Eventually, though, the paper survived and revitalized, but never reached the circulation of the first few months.

Former homeless man and crack addict Lee Stringer was first vendor and then editor and columnist for Street News. He is now a writer and motivates young people to stay away from crime.

References

  1. Although Portland, Oregon's Homeless Times was founded before it, Street News is the earliest-published paper that is still active (North American Street Newspaper Association 2008). The first volume of Homeless Times was published as early as 1986 ( ).


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