Three weeks, eight hours and what a coincidence

We at Street Roots don’t even attempt to compete with the Mighty O, what with their daily circulation and big staff, as it were. We trudge away on our tiny editorial budget, relying on volunteers, freelancers and vendors to cover stories from a perspective often overlooked by other media, including The Oregonian. Which is why it is heartening to see other papers like the O recognize important issues that we’ve brought to light in our pages and web presence.

But what a coincidence to see The Oregonian’s coverage of “Cops” filming at the St. Francis dining hall a mere eight hours after we posted it here on our blog and Facebook profile, along with an editorial and commentary from a St. Frances patron. It was almost immediately picked up by The Mercury, which noted the source and generated an even larger discussion about police judgement and the rights of the homeless.

However, The Oregonian never mentioned our original coverage of the story. Sure, news happens, and we’re often out there talking to the same people and covering the same issues around the same times, but the incident being written about happened three weeks ago. Three weeks.

It serves neither the publishers nor the consumers of news in this town to cannibalize our own.  The cache of news propriety is fleeting compared to the more important issues of journalistic standards and simple respect. Readers already know this. How could the O forget?

Posted by Joanne Zuhl

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