[Hpn] FW: Street unwise

chance martin streetsheet@sf-homeless-coalition.org
Mon, 12 Feb 2001 13:56:14 -0700

From: Terry Messman <TMessman@afsc.org>
Date: Mon, 12 Feb 2001 16:45:28 -0500
To: "'chance martin'" <streetsheet@sf-homeless-coalition.org>
Subject: Street unwise

Hi Chance,

I just needed to take a moment to tell you how much I appreciate your
ass-kicking in the form of a letter that you sent to Streetwise. I had no
idea this stuff was going on with them, but to say I am sickened would be an
understatement. When I attended the Seattle conference of NASNA three years
ago, Judd of Streetwise did a despicable workshop on fundraising to obtain
"contributions in the six figures," and advocated that street newspapers
should change their editorial content away from political, hard-hitting
coverage to more infotainmnet and movie reviews to attract a better
demographic to attract big advertisers. Judd advocated commercializing our
publications, attracting corporate sponsors including Shell, and
dumbing-down and glitzing-up our editorial content in order to do so. When I
(along with Paul Boden and a few others) spoke out against this terribly
misguided direction for NASNA, we were first stereotyped in a negative way
by Tim Harris and other NASNA honchos, and then effectively silenced with
some of the worst misuses of Robert's Rules of Order I have ever seen. It
turned me off to NASNA at the outset. I wrote a long editorial for the next
months' issue of Street Spirit denouncing the wrong direction of
commercialization advocated by the Big Issue and Streetwise, and will try to
remember to send you a copy. Nobody to this day in NASNA has apologized for
that heavy-handed mistreatment of the dissenters at the Seattle conference
who have now been proven right in our warnings that Streetwise and the Big
Issue represented a terribly wrong direction for the street newspaper
movement. Then we went through this whole thing again when the Big Issue
tried to invade LA, despite how they were violating their own INSP rules
against invading a member publication's turf. Robert Norse and I were again
effectively silenced when we spoke out against the Big Issue; Paul Boden and
Indio Washington spoke out too. All of us were once again ignored and
sometimes cynically misrepresented and vilified by Tim Harris and John Bird.
I have basically been disgusted and repelled by NASNA since that time. From
that day to today, I have had a strong reluctance to believe that this
organization has much journalistic integrity, ethics or validity. I hope you
now have a more complete understanding of why I harbor such strong doubts
and bitter feelings about NASNA based on these past betrayals. And thanks
again for speaking the truth to Streetwise in such a strong way.