[Hpn] FW: STREETWISE CRISIS CONTINUES

chance martin streetsheet@sf-homeless-coalition.org
Thu, 22 Feb 2001 18:13:21 -0800


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From: Karilyde@aol.com
Date: Thu, 22 Feb 2001 15:53:24 EST
To: <SUPPRESSED>
Subject: STREETWISE CRISIS CONTINUES

STREETWISE UPDATE
THough the paper is coming out, the crisis at the paper continues. Board
president Pam McElvaine and operations manager Diane Kenner have stated to
us that StreetWise is not a newspaper, but a non-profit organization and
therefore no rules of journalistic ethics apply and executive director
Anthony Oliver has final say over the paper. The staff has given up writing
unsigned editorials since Oliver has refused to run them. In a recent
management meeting, Kenner also said that Commentary Editor John WIlson and
Associate Editor Kari Lydersen (myself) would be "phased out" and the
responsibilities of City Editor Suzanne Haney would be increased. She said I
have been putting the paper at liability for being sued because of writing
stories attacking corporations and writing one-sided stories without
documentation. Kenner has never asked me for documentation on any of my
storie, documentation which I do in fact have, and as far as we know she has
never served in any sort of journalistic position which would give her
accreditation to serve as the StreetWise editor in chief. Kenner also said
it was unacceptable that the last issue of StreetWise had two stories
"bashing" corporations, one about Nike by Beau Golwitzer and one about a 3
year USWA strike going on at Titan International by Kari Lydersen. The board
of directors has sent a letter to StreetWise supporters outlining their
views and actions in the situation. This letter is included below. While we
are glad the board is taking this matter seriously, we think their
assessment of the situation, as indicated in the letter, fails completely to
grasp or address the fundamental problems going on at StreetWise. The broken
bathrooms and bad morale are merely symptoms of extensive labor, ethical and
financial problems at the paper and the approach outlined in the board's
letter is a band-aid solution at best. Thank you to all who have contacted
the board with your concerns and please continue to let them know of your
support for the paper, your desire for the paper to be treated as an actual
newspaper and your desire that the current situation be fully investigated.
For more information contact 773-544-0804, Karilyde@aol.com,
www.chicagoindymedia.org or the Feb 8 and 15 Hot Type columns in the Chicago
Reader. 

Dear StreetWise Supporter

On behalf of the StreetWise board of directors, I'd like to give you an =
update on what's being done to resolve concerns by some of the StreetWise =
staff.

First, I'm pleased to report that StreetWise's February 19 edition hit the =
streets on time.  We have not missed a single issue and we are committed =
to publishing a new newspaper each week for our 270 homeless vendors who =
sell StreetWise.  I'd like to personally thank our dedicated staff and =
former editors and volunteers who have stepped up recently to ensure =
publication.

Following a grievance filed by some StreetWise staff members with the =
board of directors, the StreetWise board has responded quickly to resolve =
the situation.  A board committee met with  the staff members who filed =
the complaint on Monday, February 12.  That was followed by a full board =
meeting Tuesday, February 13, to discuss the issues further.  Since then, =
the board's officers and several other board members have been engaged in =
an ongoing dialog with the staff and are investigating all matters =
thoroughly.=20

Many of the staff concerns stem from a board-approved decision to hire =
more full-time StreetWise employees to relieve some of our staff's burden =
to publish a weekly newspaper and offer social and job-training services =
to our vendors.  The staff expansion included creating a new director of =
operations position, filled by Dianne Kenner, designed to complement =
Anthony Oliver, our executive director.  Admittedly, this transition has =
not gone smoothly.  Better internal communication is one area where we =
need to improve.  However, we are making progress daily and feel the =
current organizational structure is the right way to run StreetWise.=20

Let me also assure you that we have fixed, or are in the process of =
addressing, any problems with our building space, including our first =
floor bathrooms.  We've had a problem in the past with people damaging our =
property and stealing building supplies and this has led to some of the =
problems.  We will commit appropriate resources to resolve any necessary =
repairs.

Thank you again for your continued support of StreetWise and patience =
during this period of transition.  The board of directors is working =
diligently to resolve and investigate all staff concerns and will continue =
to keep our readers and supporters informed.  We do ask that you respect =
the confidentiality of these internal matters so the process can continue =
in as positive an atmosphere as possible.

We are committed, now more than ever, to ensuring the vitality of =
StreetWise, the nation's highest rated street newspaper.

Sincerely,

Pam McElvane
Board Chair
StreetWise