CVIndependent

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Last updateFri, 16 Sep 2016 12pm

Editor's Note

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…
03 Mar 2013
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To readers of the Coachella Valley Independent, the big “iSun Investigation” that ran in the March 3 Desert Sun was not really news at all. On Feb. 15, the Independent, in a piece by Saxon Burns, reported that Coachella Valley taxpayers will be on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars due to questionable bond-issuance decisions by leaders at two area school districts. Here’s a selection from that piece, headlined “Generations of Valley Taxpayers on the Hook for Hundreds of Millions After School Districts Issue 'Irresponsible' Bonds”: When it comes to government these days, maybe, to quote an old Cole Porter song, "anything goes." Two area school districts, Coachella Valley Unified (the east valley district that runs public schools in Indio, Coachella and points east) and Desert Community College (aka College of the Desert), are among the hundreds in California that have used financing known as capital appreciation bonds,…
24 Feb 2013
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Watching the birth a brand-new publication has been one of the weirdest, yet coolest experiences of my life. It’s been one fascinating trip after another. Fighting with the website’s template during the build. Explaining to people, or trying to explain to people, what the Independent is. (“It’s like an alternative newsweekly, but it’s updated daily, and it’s online-only—except for the quarterly we’re printing, starting the first week of April, and we’ll probably increase print frequency later … oh, hell, just go read our mission statement.”) Watching the unique visitors go from single-digits per day to double, and to triple, with four digits just around the corner. It’s been frustrating and awesome and bizarre and rewarding. Now that the Independent has a fair number of actual readers (including you, and I thank you for that), we’ve started to get that most vexing of all things to an editor: reader feedback. One…
12 Nov 2012
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Ever since I was an intern at the Reno News & Review in the summer of 1996, I have been something of a newsweekly nerd. Every time I’d visit a new city, I’d scour newsracks and bookstores for the local newsweekly. I love the mix of hard-hitting local news, compelling commentaries and unmatched arts-and-culture coverage. Sometime in the mid 2000s, I visited the Coachella Valley for the first time, when my significant other and I came to visit a friend. I did my usual find-the-newsweekly thing … and I couldn’t find one. There was the Desert Post Weekly, a weak Gannett-owned faux-newsweekly in which the locally produced stories could be counted on one hand. There was The Desert Entertainer, which seemed to specialize in coverage of events that took place at the local casinos. And that was it. Meanwhile, Garrett and I started to fall in love with the place—the…
26 Oct 2012
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I spent a good chunk of last Friday at the University of Arizona School of Journalism's fall-semester internship fair. I originally signed up for eight 20-minute interview slots on behalf of the paper I currently edit, the Tucson Weekly. However, Lisa Button, the school's fabulous internship coordinator, emailed me a couple of weeks before the fair to let me know that all eight of those slots were full, and that the waitlist was getting rather long. I agreed to add four more slots. With the addition of two walk-ins, I wound up doing brief interviews with 14 students over about four hours. Some observations: • The future of journalism is bright, at least as far as the newbies are concerned. This was an impressive, talented, motivated group. • The future of journalism is female. Over the years, an increasing female skew has hit the UA Journalism School, as well as…

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