CVIndependent

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Editor's Note

24 Feb 2014
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Some folks just don’t like change. That’s one of the messages of Brian Blueskye's profile of Frank Tysen, the local hotelier who has been leading the charge against John Wessman’s hotel/retail development on the site of the former Desert Fashion Plaza. The piece went online last week, and serves as our March print-edition cover story. Tysen says he’s in favor of downtown redevelopment in Palm Springs—but not this kind of downtown redevelopment. He thinks the proposed Kimpton Hotel is too big, too boxy, too glassy, too L.A. He thinks a new shopping center in Palm Springs is a terrible idea. And he thinks it’s stupid to try to attract younger professionals and millennials as tourists to the Coachella Valley, because they lack the time and money that older visitors have. I don’t agree with Frank Tysen. I think, in this case, change is good. To my untrained eyes, the plans…
31 Jan 2014
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I recently received an email from a person who works at a local advertising agency, requesting coverage of an event. “Or all features given to advertisers?” the email said. “If so I understand.” Sigh. I sent a polite reply, explaining that advertising has nothing to do with our editorial coverage. (And, yes, we did cover the event, even though we didn’t receive any advertising—simply because it was an event worthy of coverage.) Sadly, emails like this to Independent World Headquarters are fairly common. These days—and in this valley, in particular—it’s fairly common for “legitimate” publications to sell editorial coverage along with advertising. This is an ethically questionable practice to begin with—and it’s downright wrong for publications to sell coverage without labeling that coverage as advertising. Yet it happens all the time. Every journalism school in the country teaches classes warning against “pay for play” practices—and it turns out that many…
01 Jan 2014
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When we launched the Coachella Valley Independent in late 2012, we knew that we’d face numerous obstacles and dilemmas along the way. However, our latest print issue presented us with a unique dilemma that I didn’t see coming. The question at hand: When should the Independent start its new volume? For years, magazines, newspapers and other print publications have divvied up issues into volumes. Most publications change volumes on a yearly basis—quite often on the anniversary of the publication’s launch. For example, the publication I worked at before the Independent came to be, the Tucson Weekly, will start its 31st volume in late February, when the publication celebrates its 30th anniversary. That’s all well and good—but in the Independent’s case, we have at least four “launch” dates. We launched CVIndependent.com in beta in October 2012. We took the website out of beta on Jan. 1, 2013. We published our first…
27 Nov 2013
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A businessman I used to know liked to talk up the fact that his restaurants were locally owned. He pointed to studies showing the increased economic impacts of spending money at locally owned businesses when compared to non-locally owned businesses. One such study showed that $73 of every $100 spent at a locally owned business stayed in the local economy, whereas only $43 of every $100 spent at a non-locally owned business stayed. (See this and other studies at www.localfirstaz.com/studies; I’d point you to a more local “Local First” website, but, alas, I couldn’t find one.) However, he didn’t always put his money where his mouth was. When it came time to advertise, he didn’t spend with any of the local media; instead, he used Groupon. (Go figure.) That bit of hypocrisy aside, my businessman friend had a point: It’s always better to buy local whenever you can—and that’s a…
28 Oct 2013
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In late 2002, I was talking to the publisher of the Tucson Weekly about the editor’s job. I was working for what was then a corporate sister paper, Las Vegas CityLife.. The Tucson publisher, Tom, had apparently heard from my Las Vegas publisher that I was seeing someone—but Tom didn’t know the details. “So, I understand you have a girlfriend in Las Vegas,” Tom said. I suddenly faced a split-second decision—the kind of awkward and potentially damaging decision that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people face from time to time. “Actually, I have a boyfriend in Vegas,” I replied. Thankfully, everything worked out: I got the job (and would happily keep it for nearly a decade), and the boyfriend and I recently celebrated 11 years together. But far too often, things don’t work out when LGBT folks have to make the split-second decision whether to come out—even today, in 2013.…
30 Sep 2013
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The Coachella Valley Independent was born on Oct. 25, 2012. The very first story to go live at CVIndependent.com was, really, nothing special. In fact, the piece was more of a test piece for us to build the website around than what I’d call “journalism.” It was just three sentences, plus a photo, explaining that Restless Heart was going to be playing a show at the Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa. The headline, taken from the name of a Restless Heart song: “Tell Me What You Dream.” I never dreamt that less than a year later, the Independent would be where it is today. This summer, the Independent became the first Coachella Valley publication to ever be admitted to the Association of Alternative Newsmedia. We have now published about 700 stories online—and our October print edition, hitting streets this week, includes about 30 contributors and marks our debut as a…