2007 NASNA Conference in Portland, Oregon
The North American Street Newspaper Association held a three-day conference this July in Portland, Oregon, hosted by Street Roots. Homeward Street Journal sent a representative, along with representatives from across the United States, Canada and a European representative from the INSP. These annual conferences are a chance for those involved in the street newspaper movement to share experiences, knowledge and technical support.
This year’s theme was “Changing the World One Newspaper at a Time”. Most member papers have an advocacy side to them promoting affordable housing, adequate shelter and civil rights for homeless people. Content varies, from homelessness and housing articles to current events and entertainment. All papers include a vendor program, where homeless people are able to sell the papers to earn money.
Thursday evening was registration and then everyone met downtown at a pub for refreshments, ordourves and getting to know or reacquainted with each other.
Most of the conference activities took place on the Portland State University, where conference members stayed in student dorms upstairs from the conference rooms and classrooms. Friday morning everyone met for more formal introductions and welcoming from the Street Roots director, Israel Bayer, City Commissioner, Erik Sten, and NASNA President, Laura Thompson Osuri.
Workshops throughout the conference were: Street Newspaper Roundtable; Creating and Implementing Breakthrough Strategy; Fair and Biased, Walking the line between objectivity and advocacy; Fundraising 101; Street Newspaper Innovations Panel; Building and maintaining individual donors; Effective partnerships and coalitions; Stuck small, Expand your capacity for greater impact; Guerilla Journalism; Street News Service; Vendors! Vendors! Vendors!
Israel Bayer, Street Roots, speaking at general session.
Most meals were served at the student cafeteria but there were special meals and special events for the conference goers. One lunchtime we spent at the Farmers Market to give us a taste of Portland. One evening there was a barbeque at a nearby park where many of Street Roots vendors attended, one vendor entertaining us with his guitar playing and songs.
The last evening was a dinner on the 30th floor of a downtown building with windows overlooking the whole city. The Keynote speaker was Paul Boden, Director of the Western Regional Advocacy Project. He said the social justice movement is the core of the street newspaper movement. Street newspapers have put $5 million in the pockets of homeless people, without judgment or fingerprinting. The newspapers are an unfiltered vehicle to get the story out and provides a voice for the poor. With the network that is NASNA there is more power in printing a common message.
Saturday evening's dinner overlooking the city.

NASNA Barbeque at park near campus