Re: Article in the Wisconsin State Journal
From: Karen Carlson (
Date: Tue, 30 Jun 2015 08:00:49 -0700 (PDT)
Joni:  I"m happy to report that the print copy had a different and far better 
headline, "Cooperative begins at home"  Plus a lot more photos.  The text, as 
far as I know, is the same.  I think the prospects for the 2 new communities 
might more likely see the print version. Would you like us to send you a paper 
copy?  If so send your mailing address.

Karen Carlson
Arboretum Cohousing
Madison, Wi

On Jun 30, 2015, at 2:29 AM, Joani Blank wrote:

> Below is the text of an email that I wrote in response to an article on 
> cohousing that appeared a day or two ago in the Wisconsin State Journal, 
> Madison WI:
> Cassidy,
> Thanks for sending me this.......
> I do appreciate that you took the time to prepare the article, but frankly I 
> was very unhappy to see the headline. Now, I know enough about newspaper 
> journalism to know that the authors of newspaper articles almost never get to 
> write the headlines for their articles, and I really want to believe that you 
> did not write "giant dorm for grownups" headline.
> However, those words, said by a young visitor (perhaps a college student 
> herself) about a cohousing community--presumably one of the two existing 
> communities there in Madison--, are just the kind of words that are 
> incredibly offputting to many, many of exactly the kinds of people whom we 
> know would otherwise be attracted to cohousing.
> I fear that the appearance of this headline plus the fact that you gave that 
> quote prominence by using it very early in the article will make it very hard 
> for the two new communities getting started to find local people who want to 
> consider living in them.  And many more people, I fear, will read only the 
> headline before turning the page, or will read down only to where that quote 
> appears before losing interest in the subject altogether.
> You do mention very briefly, though quite a bit later in this long article, 
> that in cohousing communities there are private homes, but you do not use the 
> term "common house" even once, and when you talk about the common 
> kitchen/dining room, you do it in a way that suggests that most or all meals 
> are communal.
> In the mid-nineties, the cohousing movement was significantly held back, I 
> believe, by quite a number of articles on cohousing that carried sensational 
> headlines such as "Communes For the Nineties!" I'm afraid I'm having a 
> 'deja-vu all over again' with "Giant Dorms for Grownups."
> You told me, I'm quite sure, that you had visited Village Cohousing, and that 
> you had an appointment to visit Arboretum Cohousing as well within a day or 
> two after we talked. For this reason I'm quite surprised that you didn't get 
> it that a cohousing community is nothing at all like "a giant dorm for 
> grownups." And no one who actually lives living in any cohousing community in 
> North America would  ever describe where they live that way.
> Finally and this is a point of personal privilege if you will, I did not say 
> that I attended a seminar on "reluctant husbands." What I said was that many 
> years ago there was a thread on the cohousing listserv on that subject.
> I used that thread as an example of the fact that concerns about inadequate 
> privacy in cohousing are not uncommon  when the future resident group is in 
> the group formation and planning phases of a new project, but that this is 
> rarely problematic or the concern disappears altogether once the residents 
> have moved in.
> Joani Blank
> Swan's Market Cohousing
> Oakland, CA
> c
> >
> >
> >
> > Again, thank you for your help!
> >
> > Cassidy McDonald

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