NHL playoffs run a boon for newspaper vendor?

Editor’s note: During each Chips Quinn orientation and multimedia training in Nashville, Tenn., scholars are required to complete a mobile media reporting module, which includes producing videos and reporting and writing stories. Their work is displayed here.

by J. Gabriel Ware

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—After splitting the first two games of the third round of the National Hockey League Stanley Cup Playoffs in Anaheim, Calif., the Nashville Predators and the Anaheim Ducks played their first game in Nashville on a Tuesday in May — the Predators’ first home conference game in the franchise’s history.

Many downtown Nashville businesses were expected to reap financial benefits from the local hockey team’s lengthy playoff run, as businesses welcomed pedestrian traffic before the Predators’ defeat of the Ducks.

Not to be left out, vendors lined up on Broadway Street not far from where the Predators play their home games at Bridgestone Arena at 501 Broadway. At the corner stood David Martin Cline, who wore a black foot brace and waved a newspaper as he shouted to pedestrians, “Predators make history!”

“I don’t normally stand here,” Cline says. “I’m here because of the game tonight.”

Cline is a vendor for the street newspaper The Contributor. Founded in 2007, The Contributor is a nonprofit newspaper created to give homeless and formerly homeless people a way to earn money.

Homelessness in Nashville rose 9.8 percent from 2015 to 2016, according to the 2016 United States Conference of Mayors’ Hunger and Homelessness Survey.

Nashville nonprofits are making efforts to address homelessness. In March, Open Table, a group that advocates for low-income affordable housing in the city, announced a partnership with the United Methodist Church that will lead to the construction of 20 micro-homes designated for homeless people on the church’s six-acre property at 2901 Glencliff Rd.

Since its founding in 2007, The Contributor has set itself apart from other newspapers by being a vehicle for giving homeless individuals the opportunity to make their own money while developing entrepreneurial skills. Vendors buy the papers at the wholesale price of 75 cents each and sell them on the streets of Nashville for $2 per copy.

David Cline talks with a security officer about selling The Contributor newspaper in front of Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn., in May. (Photo by Julieta Martinelli)

Cline, born and raised 34 miles from Nashville, in Murfreesboro, Tenn., moved to the city in 1989. He has an undisclosed medical condition and later became homeless.

“To be honest, I just didn’t want to work,” says Cline, who joined The Contributor in 2010 and has been working with the newspaper ever since as one of more than 300 vendors.

Cline is also an artist who uses the alias “Clinecasso,” inspired by the renowned Spanish painter and sculptor Picasso. A piece of Cline’s artwork—a colorful, crystallized portrait of his left hand—is featured in the latest edition of the paper. He uses his artwork as a selling pitch to potential customers.

With the Predators looking to a take a 3-1 game lead over the Ducks two nights later at Bridgestone Arena, Cline was hoping to sell more papers than usual. He would have to do so from across the street, however, as security officials asked him to move away from the corner of the stadium during game days.

The Contributor “helps keep money in my pocket,” he says. “I’ll be here for every game.”

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