Friday, April 6, 2012

The "Westway Rule" a constant stream of articles demanding attention at page 182

As a source for and reader of the alternative press, I have found one principle that stands ut: to assist social change activism, an alternative weekly must run repeated stories on the same issue. I refer to this principle as the “Westway Rule”, named for the long proposed highway for New York’s West Side. During much of the 1980s, you could not pick up an issue of the Village Voice without reading about the horrors of Westway.

As a Voice subscriber living 3,000 miles away from the project, I might easily ignore articles about the latest deficiency in the Westway environmental impact report. Yet the constant stream of stories demanded my attention. I eventually took a strong rooting interest in the defeat of Westway and looked forward to reading prominent opponent Marcy Benstock’s latest salvo against it. If the Voices’s ongoing Westway stories won over someone totally unfamiliar with Manhattan’s West Side, I could only imagine their impact on area residents. The defeat of Westway in the 1980s surely resulted from many factors, but the Voice’s ongoing coverage had to be one of them.

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