STREET SENSE November 7 - 20, 2012
Marc Schumann, a formerly homeless Baltimore resident, had the idea for the publication in 2010. He’s now the editor-in-chief.
Baltimore’s Faces of Homelessness Speakers Bureau, above, spearheaded many of the ideas for the newspaper. photo by nick mutschler
Game,” vendor, reporter and community advocate Bonnie Lane chronicled the story of a Baltimore native who was on the city’s public housing waiting list for over 14 years before being approved, only to die a week later. The paper is designed and composed by Towson University professor Jessica Ring and her graphic design and social issues class. “The students take so much out of this course. Our hope is that they continue this sort of activism even after they finish the class,” Ring said. The course is primarily filled with graphic design students who regularly work directly with the writers and contributors at Word on the Street. Although the students do not contribute stories, there is a great deal of crossover between the class and the paper. “As we are preparing the layout for the paper, students may have an idea for a photo or image for a story, so we’ll get in touch with Word on the Street and collaborate. There is a really good back and forth that goes on between us in this way,” said Ring. Photography workshop coordinator Michael Jefferson said engaging readers in the stories of homelessness is the objective. “Our goal is really to expose Baltimore residents to the issue of
Charm City Connection By Morgan Jones Vendor
On Saturday, Oct. 27, I took a trip to Baltimore. Taking a MegaBus to Baltimore cost me $15. There I learned about another paper like Street Sense. It’s called Word on the Street, and it comes out four times a year. Bonnie L ane usually hosts work shops for writers and photographers, but she was unable to attend that day. Vanessa Borotz filled in and did a great job. I introduced myself as a vendor and writer for Street Sense in Washington, D.C. I met some of the staff, like editor-in-
chief Mark Schumann, photography group instructor Michael Jefferson, and content editors Joanna Gervais and Damien Haussling. We had a passionate discussion about the homeless issues of the day. Editor Joanna Gervais handles community services and the back page of the paper, which has a map of service locations in the city. She wants to conduct a survey of service providers for the homeless. T he s e are car ing, d e dicate d people fighting for the cause to end homelessness and pover ty. If you would like to help Word on the Street, you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We have such a diverse group of people who come to our meetings. It’s easy to see how much help these meetings provide.” — Tony Simmons of Baltimore’s Faces of Homelessness Speakers Bureau
homelessness through storytelling and doing so through as many mediums as possible,” Jefferson said. Also playing a vital part in the paper’s creation has been 1620AM WLOY Loyola Radio station and its program, “Both Feet In,” which features stories on homelessness and other social issues. WLOY provided funding to the paper for the entire first year’s printing costs and also hosted a fundraiser on April 27 at the Cork Gallery which raised over $2,500 more. The students have learned much about homelessness through their involvment in “Both Feet In,” said John Davecka, Operations Manager at WLOY. “The first episode of ‘Both Feet In’ came out in February 2010, right after ‘snowmegeddon,’ which was a great time to launch,” Davecka recalled. “We have a fairly affluent student body, so while students were complaining about not having hot cocoa, the less fortunate were outside freezing on the streets and stuck in shelters. The program helped open the eyes of the students and get people’s attention.” Word on the Street shares a business model common to many street newspapers around the world. Word on the Street vendors pay a quarter for each issue, which covers production costs. Then they ask their customers for a dollar donation. The paper is hoping to keep growing and fundraising too. “We are really looking to humanize and bring a general understanding of the problems facing Baltimore, but we could use all the help we can get,” Borotz said.