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We The News | Urban Omnibus
Time was, when the news spread, it really motored. Whisked through the city streets on the back of a truck, slung to the curb, and brandished from a newsstand, the news was something that was first not there, and then arrived. Numbering above 1,500 in their 1950s heyday, newsstands have been unique neighborhood fixtures, as well as a key source of income for recent immigrants and veterans returning home from war. But 40 years later, when Mayor Rudolph Giuliani set out to clear the streets of disorderly elements, he included the city’s independent and architecturally eclectic newsstands. By 2005, at the city’s behest, Spanish company Cemusa had fashioned a fleet of standardized aluminum and frosted glass replacements; now only a fifth of the originals remain. Newsstand operators today, a majority of whom are still immigrants, may appreciate the improved security and efficiency of the city-sanctioned stands. ... This is because the news, notoriously, no longer sells....

Her resulting project, We The News, collects a diverse and ever-growing set of stories at the intersection of race and migration. And to get them out and moving about in the world, Cruz has put a new spin on the old newsstand.

In transforming stories into a collection of physical objects, the history of do-it-yourself publishing and zine-making were clear inspirations. But the news is not merely a microphone: Editing, design, publishing, and distribution can be forms of solidarity and empowerment. Cruz reached for simple strategies common in editorial design — grids, typographical hierarchies — but eschewed templates. ...

Stories, of course, need readers. To that purpose, Cruz collaborated with architect Michael Yarinsky to design a newsstand for distribution. A simple plywood box on wheels, mobile and portable, opens up and folds out to set up shop at any likely crossroads.
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