This past Sunday, June 12, Beat of the Street (BOTS) was featured in an article on the front page of the Hartford Courant CTNow section.
BOTS, Hartford’s first and only street newspaper
“written by the homeless, the formerly homeless and those close to them, aims to expose the challenges they face and, eventually, help to raise money to support them” [quoted from the Hartford Courant].
Courant staff writer Jenna Carlesso and staff photographer Cloe Poisson teamed up to document the entire production cycle of BOTS - from article writing to newspaper layout to distribution – and produced a picture perfect snapshot of the BOTS team and process.
The article, “From Homeless, News Hot Off City Streets: Homeless Hawkers Selling Beat of the Street,” featured interviews with BOTS staff/writers Joan Artis and Harry Mitchell as well as Donna Berman, Executive Director of the Charter Oak Cultural Center and Nathan Fox, BOTS editor and contributor.
Artis explained that she’s “trying to break the stereotypes of homeless people. There’s a lot of good out there that people don’t understand.” Mitchell added “Homeless people don’t have enough of a voice in this city. I think it’s a problem that’s grossly ignored.” The article also explained some of the efforts BOTS is hoping to undertake to increase distribution of the paper, including selling subscriptions, selling the paper at public events and raising money through grants.
Over the 2-month period that the article came to fruition, Poisson (Courant photographer) became a defacto member of the team, joining BOTS for countless meetings to capture every BOTS-related-moment possible through her lens. When questions arose regarding journalism ethics, such as photographing individuals on the street, Poisson was quick to jump in and offer her expert insight. Along the way she took thousands of photographs and hours of video, which will hopefully be available to share online in the near future.
The BOTS team is thrilled to have worked with Cloe and Jenna in composing this very important article, and is forever grateful for the increased exposure resulting it. Hopefully through this increased awareness BOTS will further connect the residents of the Greater Hartford community to the homelessness that exists in their backyard.
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