Monday, July 30, 2007

NASNA conference a smashing success

The North American Street Newspaper Conference was a smashing success. Vendors, directors, and editors visited us from cities like St. Louis, Seattle, Vancouver, Victoria, DC, Boston, Cambridge, San Francisco, Edmonton, Montreal, and Denver, to name a few. We had reps from 17 newspapers in all.

Workshops on Friday included a newspaper round table led by Street Roots managing editor Joanne Zuhl and Dave Tomaro from the Statesman Journal in Salem about how to broaden newspapers curb appeal to help vendors, a breakthrough strategic planning session led by consultant and SRs vice-chairperson Bruce Anderson, and a workshop on Fundraising 101 by Real Change director Timothy Harris. Other workshops on Friday included the popular Fair and Biased: Walking the line between objectivity and advocacy led by Portland Mercury Editors Amy J. Ruiz and Scott Moore and a panel discussion about street paper innovations around the world. Friday night we had a barbecue in the park blocks with Street Rooters and NASNAnians.

On Saturday, NASNA officially created a strategic alliance with the International Network of Street Papers (INSP) – becoming a regional model for other regions throughout the world. Both organizations created a due structure that allows one payment into both organization. Workshops led by Portland Tribune reporter Nick Budnick and Cydney Gillis with Real Change explored how to use your underdog status to our advantage. They presented tips on how to develop "sources" and creatively use public records laws and other tools at your disposal to do impact journalism while building credibility and readership. Other popular workshops on Saturday included Vendors! Vendors! Vendors! and Stuck Small: Expand your capacity for greater impact along with a workshop on the Street News Service, a wire service for street newspapers around the wold.

We elected some new faces to NASNA’s Executive Committee – including Andy Freeze from Street Vibes in Cincinnati, Rick Barnes, businessman and publisher of the Denver Voice, and Bryan Pollard, Managing Editor of the Cherokee Phoenix. Both Street Roots Joanne Zuhl and Israel Bayer were re-elected to the Executive Committee. The committees focus this year will be creating a new strategic plan, technical assistance and obtaining staffing for the national organization.

Saturday night SRs board chairperson Marvin Mitchell and Paul Boden with the Western Advocacy Project brought the house down with inspiring presentations on the role of street newspaper in a larger movement.

Street Roots was honored to host the NASNA conference and looks forward to continuing to bring readers an opportunity to build relationships, support vendors, get educated and to take action!

Photos by Chelsea Clark-James

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