[Hpn] Homelessness in the Media

Anitra Freeman anitra@speakeasy.org
Wed, 08 Nov 2000 20:27:22 -0800 (PST)

This is a local (Seattle, Washington)  event, but it brings up an -- I
hope -- interesting issue.

Tomorrow night, Thursday November 9, the Society of Professional
Journalists is hosting a panel on homeless issues and how they are
covered in the media.  Panelists are Tim Harris, executive editor of the
Real Change, Seattle's homeless newspaper; the Rev. Rick Reynolds of
Nightwatch, homeless shelter referral agency and a strong homeless
advocate; the Rev. Herbert Pfiffner of Seattle's Union Gospel Mission;
Darin Watkins of KING-TV News; and myself, Anitra Freeman - low-income,
previously homeless activist and writer.  Dave Ross, radio talk show
host at KIRO-AM, will serve as the moderator.

This free event is in the Pinnacle Room of the Mountaineer Club, at the
foot of Queen Anne, at 7:30PM. The discussion will be taped for
rebroadcast by TVW, a non-profit cable station that is Washington
state's equivalent of C-Span.

For more background, see the preview article on SPJ's web site at

This seemed like an opportunity to spark a discussion on this topic, if
anyone is willing.

In which media, if any, do you feel that homeless people and homeless
issues are covered accurately? 

Are they covered to the extent of their national importance?

What factors contribute to full and accurate coverage of homeless

What factors interfere with that?

Are these factors the same as those that affect the coverage of any
issue, or are there particular factors affecting the coverage of
homeless issues?

What would more and better coverage of homeless issues look like?  

What would be the effects of more and better coverage of homeless

What aspects of the Internet make it easier to disseminate information
about social issues?

What factors of the internet make it harder?


I've asked as many questions as Tom Boland does! :)  Maybe we will all
have similar answers on these questions.  Or maybe a discussion will
give us some ideas for improving the media.

In my own analysis of the social values that have changed in my
lifetime, it seems to me that the media was a major factor in that

Write On! / Anitra L. Freeman / http://www.speakeasy.org/~anitra/
"We can't help everyone.  We can't fix everything.  It hurts. 
 But it is better to live with pain than to live without caring."