Thursday, February 08, 2007

Interaction with the Media

Difficult Time for Homeless People

Yes, these have been some hard times for homeless people. The media wants to know why would anyone be outside in this horrible weather? Now, I am sure that the young woman and men who come to ask questions are fine upstanding citizens who care about the world, but they don't make them like they used to. Reporters of the past knew everything about everything. If they did not understand why homeless people slept outside, they became homeless for a period of time to find out. If they wanted to know about low income workers they went to work at a temporary labor company. If they needed to know about the health care crisis in America, they hung out on the front lines in the emergency room. There were no embedded journalists or journalists camped in the relatively calm green zone. Journalists were on the front lines. It seems that those days are gone, and so now the height of investigative journalism is watching perverts in the library.

Anyway, the pretty faces that grace our television every night don't really understand the people that they cover. This is fine if they were detached observers, but now they are wearing their ignorance proudly on camera. They wonder out loud about how crazy it is to reject shelter. They criticize the criminals even before conviction. The announcers specialize in empty banter between stories, but do not understand government, power, or how things work in this world. I am not sure that many of the journalists of today are prepared, but certainly television journalists are more prepared for the runway then the broadcasting of the news.


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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Carl Monday, Please Don’t Get Mad at Our Vendors for My Actions

by Kevin E. Cleary

I want to apologize to any Homeless Grapevine vendor who gets rejected by Carl Monday. It’s my fault, don’t blame Mr. Monday.

Two weeks ago, one of our vendors, Arthur Jr., called me during one of his regular shifts selling The Homeless Grapevine at the West Side Market. He breathlessly reported that he had sold this national celebrity and local investigative reporter a copy of our latest issue.

Arthur Jr. was very excited and talked at length about how nice Mr. Monday was, and how he had seemed receptive to Arthur Jr.’s suggestion that homelessness should get more coverage in the media. The whole time he was talking, alarm bells were ringing in my head. I’ve been looking everywhere for hidden cameras ever since.

Then, last week, another vendor, Mike, came into the office to get papers. He started telling me about one of his recent shifts at the Market, and was quite upset. The conversation went something like this:

“You know who’s an a**hole?” asked Mike.
“The President?” I replied, half-joking.
“No, Carl Monday! I asked him if he’d like to buy a copy of The Homeless Grapevine, and he yelled, ‘No!’ all angrily and stormed off.”

I was then compelled to explain to Mike that, to the best of my knowledge, Cleveland’s Investigative Reporter bore no hostility to him in particular. I explained that I had Photoshopped Mr. Monday’s head onto SuperHost’s body to make an amusing picture, and that Mr. Monday had probably seen it in the paper and hadn’t found it that funny.

I even watched the news with trepidation last night, as Mr. Monday was reporting from the West Side Market. But it turned out he was just following people around to see if they washed their hands after going to the bathroom.

I was saddened to hear that Mr. Monday’s final report on WKYC will take place tonight, also from the West Side Market. I must say that following people into the bathroom with a camera seems beneath him as a final report. After all, I’m sure he could find some other 17-year old kid masturbating in a library, or some more smokers in the Justice Center parking lot to use as his final “gotcha.”

But perhaps he’s saving these for when he returns to Channel 19's Tabloid News. In the mean time, I’m still watching for hidden cameras and am washing my hands after every time I Photoshop.

On that note, I’ve decided to stop using the SuperHost picture of Mr. Monday. I don’t want to put the paper at risk by offending him, and I’d like Mr. Monday to read our paper in the future, so our vendors can earn a living. Therefore, I present our new mascot, Blake Friday: