Guest Papers: Catch-Up Edition

Monday, October 24, 2011
October has been a very busy month for me so I'm adding a few papers here to catch up on this feature.  The first two were from a trip to Columbus at the beginning of the month.  The third one was our local daily from last weekend.

I must admit that I almost didn't get a copy of the publication pictured above.  I was walking with my family in Columbus' Short North District (along North High Street) when I was approached by what appeared to be a homeless man.  While I am concerned about the plight of that demographic (and donate to several charities that provide for a portion of their sheltering needs in my community), I normally don't just hand over money to a person I don't know.  It wasn't until I saw that he was offering a newspaper for a donation that I opened my wallet and quickly provided this vendor monetary compensation.

Street Speech, a bi-weekly advocacy publication for the Columbus Coalition for the Homeless, is an 8-page Berliner-sized newspaper.  Affiliated with the North American Street Newspaper Association and the International Network of Street Papers, an organization that comprises over 100 publications from over 40 countries--including three others in Ohio, the Columbus version 'empowers low-income individuals through skill development, social interaction and economic opportunity' through the sale of papers to the general public.  Vendors must adhere to a strict code of conduct while selling their copies to ensure the credibility of the publication and the sponsoring organization.

This edition, targeted for sale between October 7-20, featured articles written by local vendors and their personal struggles caused by the current poor economy and other hurdles thrown their way in life.  Interspersed with these central Ohio-area items are stories of social and economic inequality provided through the INSP.  To help soften their advocacy mission, Street Speech provides Sudoku, a word search puzzle and a vendor classified section to mimic the offerings seen in more traditional publications.  Due to their vendor-focused business model, no subscription plans are offered but advertising and sponsorships are solicited ($10 to help cover the cost of a new vendor's training up to $540 to sponsor the printing of one issue).  I'll have to be on the lookout the next time I'm in Columbus to get future editions.

Well known to many internet users, the Onion is one of the country's most well known news satire organizations.  Founded in 1988, this parody publication takes aim at international, national and local news through time-honored newspaper methods such as editorials and man-in-the-street interviews. Their Twitter feed was in the news late last month when it released a series of 'tweets' about a fictitious hostage situation at the US Capitol.  Due to a recent arrest of a Massachusetts man plotting to blow up that building as well as the Pentagon, Capitol Police were forced to issue a statement declaring that story to be fake.

In addition to the news portion, each print edition has the A.V. Club, an entertainment section focusing on film, music, interviews, books and pop culture.  The last time I saw the Onion on the street was in Washington, DC, and it's nice to know that Columbus is one of the 12 areas in the US where this tabloid is distributed (for free).  With the ascendance of "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report" into today's popular culture, the Onion faces stiff competition for the hearts and minds of people who are fed up with the current antics in the 'mainstream' media and enjoy 'faux' sources to get their news.

Although not technically a 'guest', I included the October 15th edition of the Dayton Daily News because of its annual 'pinking' in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  That Saturday's front and 'Life' sections were printed on pink paper while the rest remained on its regular medium.  This was the third year running for this special color scheme meant to raise awareness of this disease among the paper's readership, with a portion of the proceeds to be donated to the Dayton branch of the American Cancer Society.  Similar 'Think Pink' newspaper initiatives have been seen throughout the country and this campaign has even been seen in several professional sports leagues.  While this shade takes a bit of adjustment to read (and initially reminded me of the salmon pink used by the Financial Times--a paper I rarely, if ever, read), the reason behind this annual practice helps temper any temporary eyestrain I might experience.

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