Newspaper, journalism, writing, homelessness, poverty, housing
As a student journalist since the onset of my college career, I have been drawn to the idea of power through the written word. Journalists, acting ideally as a fourth estate on behalf of the public interest, are there to give power to democracy and create a more informed population. However, as a writer, there is a certain personal power to wielding a pen. How does that affect an individual’s sense of self and sense of agency? What does the conviction that comes with being a published writer bring to a person’s sense of self-worth and identity?
Throughout this past semester, I have been working closely with the men and women who put together Street Sights, a publication based in Providence that is written and produced by the formerly or presently homeless, and features stories aimed at an audience of homeless individuals. The newspaper depends entirely on donations and grants to function and tackles many of the same basic issues that any local newspaper would encounter.
However, my project endeavors to show what is beyond the actual production of the paper itself—rather than focusing solely on the product, my multi-media presentation will show images and interviews with the people behind Street Sights about the impact it has had on their personal lives. It will show how their experiences with homelessness have contributed to their work and the impact being a published writer has on one’s sense of self.
My work will present the personal side to the publication and the importance writing has had on some of the remarkable men and women of Street Sights. Moreover, my project (a combination of interviews, photos, video and music) will be presented on a website, allowing an expansive audience, beyond just the population the print edition reaches each month, to hear their stories. The website will be available for access at www.uri.edu/personal/hbrady.