Media World: Why the New York Times covered a homeless couple's wedding


When Robert Tobin, who runs an organization in Sacramento that provides services to the homeless, gets calls from the media, it's usually about drugs or violence. So when he was contacted by The New York Times looking for information about clients who were getting married, he was pleasantly surprised.

After getting over his initial shock, Tobin told freelance writer Francesca Segre that he knew of such a couple, Paul Sousa, 41, and Jennifer Keen, 26, former drug abusers who met at a meeting of Narcotics Anonymous. Sousa had been in an out of jail for one-fourth of his life. Keen got help for her drug and alcohol abuse after she was told she would lose custody of her daughter unless she got clean.

Sousa and Keen are not the type of highly educated, successful or well-born couples that people expect to read about in the Sunday Styles section. But not only did Segre write about the Sousa-Keen wedding for the June 28 paper, she also published a companion piece about homeless weddings. Interestingly, most of the letters from readers wished Sousa and Keen well, though one said he was "dismayed and disappointed" that the Times wrote about the couple.