George Orwell famously quipped, “Journalism is printing what somebody else does not want printed; everything else is public relations.” When most of us read that, we think of muckrakers uncovering bribes, criminality and corruption. Images of Woodward and Bernstein meeting with Deep Throat in dim alleyways spring instantly to mind.
This is especially true after the last two weeks, when we have been bombarded with revelation after revelation about broad, possibly illegal surveillance conducted by the National Security Agency—all reported by journalists Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras and Ewen MacAskill at the “Guardian” after it was bravely leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Exposing government corruption and corporate malfeasance remains central to the profession of journalism, just as it remains vital to the exercise of democracy. However, many of the things that somebody else does not want printed are hidden in plain sight—homelessness, inequality, oppression, militarism, the climate crisis. All threaten the lives of billions every single day, including thousands here in Boston. Yet they are all grossly under-reported in the mainstream press.
This issue of SPARE CHANGE NEWS focuses on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer homelessness. As you will read here, LGBTQ homeless people represent the underside of the underside, a group that is under-served and under-reported among an already disenfranchised population.
As such, this issue is a perfect illustration of what makes SPARE CHANGE NEWS so unique. All journalists are called to shine a light into dark places. Our paper is charged with examining the shadows that light casts, looking to find what is beneath the bottom. What’s more, we are then called to amplify the voices of the people we find there—human beings, it turns out, just like ourselves.
It is my hope that you will come away from each issue of our paper with your easy certainties challenged, your assumptions questioned, and your outrage piqued. However, it is also my hope you will come away with a deep sense of solidarity with the people you read about in these pages—and that, because of that, you will come back again soon.
Investigative reporting is absolutely necessary. As shrinking editorial budgets and shuttering newspapers threaten to choke it out, it needs all the support it can muster. Still, we have also to keep our eyes on those scandals that are hidden in plain sight. That is why publications like SPARE CHANGE NEWS are so important. Without them, many of the stories in this paper would go untold, and its voices would go unheard.
We are honored to be able to share those voices with you. And we are grateful to you for listening.