CVIndependent

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Editor's Note

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…
27 Jul 2013
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On the bar at Lulu—one of Palm Springs’ biggest and most popular restaurants (and a personal favorite of mine)—is a sign in a silver picture frame. “We have an excellent selection of non-Russian vodka,” the sign reads, just below an image of a rainbow-colored martini. Lulu is one of a number of bars and restaurants that are participating in a boycott of Russian vodka that is getting bigger and bigger by the day. It’s a boycott that is well-intentioned. Unfortunately, it isn’t well-thought-out. The roots of the boycott lie, in part, in a call by Dan Savage, a pundit, author and sex-advice columnist who is the editorial director of The Stranger, one of the Independent’s alt-media brethren, in Seattle. On Wednesday, Savage wrote a post on The Stranger’s website titled “Why I’m Boycotting Russian Vodka.” In the post, he chronicles increasing government-sanctioned anti-gay movements in Russian, including bans on gay-pride…
08 Jul 2013
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A scam attempt can affect you or a loved one at any time. That’s the lesson I learned a couple a weeks ago—and fortunately, my family and I were lucky to apparently escape unscathed. My mom, who lives in Reno, Nev., was checking email at her computer on Tuesday, June 25, when she received a phone call. A man who said he was calling on behalf of Microsoft, via a company called Techhart Solutions, gave her bad news: Her computer was sending error messages, apparently as a result of a malicious computer virus. To “prove” this, he directed my mother to a log that, she says, seemed to show that her computer was indeed sending error messages. The man said it was crucial that he help her fix the computer—for a fee, of course. My mom then gave her Discover-card number. I am not sure exactly what else happened; Mom…
29 Jun 2013
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I was just flipping through some of this week’s local free print publications—and boy, is it ugly. One of them is filled with mere press releases (save a couple of bylined culture columns), as it always is. Another features a page-one music story that, at least at the start, seems more about the publishers’ crush on the band than the band itself. I could go on, but I won’t. If you’ve read these publications before, you know what I am talking about. (If you think I am being rude by pointing out these publications’ weaknesses: I am sorry, but valley residents deserve better, don’t they?) That’s why I am particularly excited about the second print issue of the Independent, which will be hitting the streets of the Coachella Valley this week. There are no reprinted press releases in our summer quarterly (and no stories discuss my crushes, musical or otherwise).…
09 Apr 2013
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I have done pretty much everything there is to do at a newspaper during my career. But last week, I did, to quote Monty Python, something completely different. I rented a 24-foot U-Haul truck, drove to the printer, and picked up 15,500 copies of the debut issue of a brand-new paper; I then trucked that haul to our distributor. Yep. That was a first. As I type, those 15,500 copies of Vol. 1, Issue 1 of the Coachella Valley Independent are on racks and/or are about to be distributed on racks throughout the Coachella Valley. The feedback is starting to dribble in already, for which I am grateful. For example, one person was kind enough to call me at 7:45 a.m. on Saturday and praise the food writing, and to suggest that I freelance for The Desert Sun, because the daily seems to need food writers right now. (Um ……
14 Mar 2013
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In December 2006, I flew from Tucson, Ariz., to Boston for a job interview. The Boston Phoenix—one of the most venerable and respected alternative newsweeklies in the country—was looking for an editor, and my application had caught the Phoenix’s collective eye. The part-day I spent in Boston was one of the most intense of my life: If memory serves, I had six separate interviews, with a total of 13 people, over a 6 1/2-hour span. If that wasn’t mentally grueling enough, I had to go through that gauntlet on three hours of sleep, because my flight into Boston was delayed. It became apparent during the interviews that some of the managers there felt that I, as the editor of a paper in little ol’ Tucson, was too small-time for the Phoenix; I knew before setting foot on the plane back home I would not get the job. I was fine…