B12 Solipsism

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Streetwise Magazine May Be Forced To Shutter

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A shame StreetWise can’t get a bailout from the federal government: they actually help people. StreetWise sells each issue to the vendors for $0.75, the vendors resell for $2.001, and keep the change.

Streetwise Headquarters

StreetWise, the weekly Chicago magazine for the homeless, has fallen victim to a hobbled economy and could be forced to close its doors by June if it cannot replace hemorrhaging foundation support, its managers say.

A shutdown would end 16 years of publication and put at risk a non-profit publication that employed homeless Chicagoans as writers and vendors.
“We’ve been in trouble for a long time, but now we’re feeling like we can’t dig ourselves out so easily,” said StreetWise executive director Bruce Crane.

Trying to stem the tide, the publication has switched from a weekly newspaper to a magazine, changed the makeup of its board and slashed staffing, services to the homeless and costs. The organization has sought to replace lost income with stepped up fundraising and grant-writing, and expanded its efforts to seek out advertisers.

Nevertheless, the savings and new funding sources are not enough to cover the loss of major foundation support that has kept the publication afloat in the past.

“If we get no grants, no economic stimulus funds, if nothing else would happen, we’d be 45 days from going out of business,” said StreetWise board vice chairman Pete Kadens.

[Click to continue reading Magazine sold by homeless may fold – Chicago Breaking News]

There are some dudes who have become veritable icons on the streets of Chicago, hawking StreetWise from the same corner for years.

Ironically, on the same day, Janie Lorber of the New York Times reports that circulation is up, at least in other cities (StreetWise is not mentioned).

Newspapers produced and sold by homeless people in dozens of American cities are flourishing even as the deepening recession endangers conventional newspapers. At many of them, circulation is growing, along with the sales forces dispatched to sell the papers to passers-by.

The recession has hardly been a windfall for these street papers, most of which are nonprofits that survive on grants and donations as well as circulation revenue. But the economic downturn has heightened interest in their offbeat coverage and driven new vendors to their doors.[Click to continue reading Rising Circulation, at Papers Sold by Homeless – NYTimes.com]


  1. or whatever they can get, a percentage of issues sell for more than $2.00 []

Written by Seth Anderson

April 14th, 2009 at 12:04 pm

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