AM Update
7:55 am
Wed March 28, 2012

AM Update: Downtown Wayfinding Takes Off, 'Daily Texan' Trayvon Martin Cartoon, New Lifeworks Campus

Weigh In on Downtown Wayfinding

The City of Austin is hosting a community forum tonight on the Downtown Austin Wayfinding Program, asking residents to sound off on the “draft philosophy” of the plan.

What is wayfinding? It’s an effort to better direct commuters and visitors through downtown, pointing pedestrians and cyclists to the best travel paths, and drivers to parking spots. The city states:

Over the past few months, the Downtown Wayfinding Project team has analyzed existing conditions in and around Downtown Austin and interviewed stakeholders in the community to gain an understanding of how commuters, residents, visitors, and tourists move through downtown. From that, the team has drafted a philosophy for navigating Downtown Austin that will serve as a foundation for developing acomprehensivewayfinding system.

Improved signage is one tool the city uses in wayfinding efforts; the city has also expressed interest in the creation of mobile applications to better travelers’ navigation.

The meeting is tonight at the Mexic-Arte Museum,  419 Congress Ave., from 6:30-9:30 p.m. You can also listen to KUT News’ “Changing Austin” report on the wayfinding program online.

Trayvon Martin Editorial Cartoon Sparks National Backlash 

UT student newspaper The Daily Texan became the object of national scrutiny yesterday, with its publication of a controversial editorial cartoon addressing the shooting of 17-year old Trayvon Martin.

The cartoon shows a woman, depicting "the media," reading a book to a child. She’s holding a book, titled “Treyvon (sic) Martin and the Case of Yellow Journalism.” The woman states, “And then ... the big bad white man killed the handsome, sweet, innocent colored boy.”

Media blog Gawker lampooned the cartoon in a blog titled “University of Texas Student Paper Wins ‘Most Racist Trayvon Martin Cartoon’ Contest.” Another widely-read blog, The Huffington Post, picked up on the controversy as well.

Artist Stephanie Eisner told the Texan:

“I feel the news should be unbiased. And in the retelling of this particular event, I felt that that was not the case,” Eisner said. “My story compared this situation to yellow journalism in the past, where aspects of news stories were blown out of proportion with the intention of selling papers and enticing emotions.”

The cartoon was taken offline for a period of time; a statement accompanying it now reads it was removed “to alleviate web traffic and prevent the web site from crashing.”

The Texan also issued a statement regarding the controversy last night. It reads:

A controversial editorial cartoon on the Trayvon Martin shooting was published Tuesday on the Opinion page of The Daily Texan. The Daily Texan Editorial Board recognizes the sensitive nature of the cartoon’s subject matter.

The views expressed in the cartoon are not those of the editorial board. They are those of the artist. It is the policy of the editorial board to publish the views of our columnists and cartoonists, even if we disagree with them.

Lifeworks' Sooch Foundation Center Opens

Lifeworks, a local nonprofit that offers housing assistance, counseling and job training to families in need, is expanding its eastside digs.

The 31,000 square foot Sooch Foundation Youth and Family Resource Center will enlarge Lifeworks' service capacity by 25 percent, and is the first phase of the expansion of LifeWorks’ East Austin Campus. Affordable housing is also in the works, providing 45 units to homeless youth, youth aging out of foster care, and young families in need. The project broke ground in 2010.

The grand opening for the center happens today at 10 a.m., 835 N. Pleasant Valley road.