It’s been an eventful month for me and the Coachella Valley Independent. Here are some notes and thoughts.
• I was fortunate enough to attend the Association of Alternative Newsmedia’s annual conference in Washington, D.C. It was a wonderful gathering of motivated independent journalists from around North America.
Make no mistake: Some (but not all) independent local newspapers are struggling. However, those of us in the industry are working on finding new ways to bring readers the news they need—and coming up with innovative ways to pay for it.
Some alternative newspapers—from Boston to Little Rock to Santa Fe to Baltimore—are starting nonprofits, opening doors to grants and other journalism-funding sources. Others are using new technologies to tell their communities’ stories in fascinating new ways. It was truly exciting to see the energy and excitement displayed by so many editors, writers and publishers.
Oh, and one more tidbit from the conference: I’d previously mentioned that the Independent was a finalist for a national Association of Alternative Newsmedia award. Well, I am elated to report that Anita Rufus’ “Know Your Neighbors” took first place in the Column category for smaller newspapers. In other words, in the eyes of contest judges, “Know Your Neighbors” is the top column in alternative newspapers with a circulation of less than 45,000 in the entire country.
• We celebrated Anita’s columns, as well as all sorts of other great work the Independent has done over the last five years, from Aug. 1-20 during our Supporters of the Independent membership drive.
I am happy to report that we received some great support during the drive—but not as much as I was anticipating. A sizable handful of readers signed up for memberships at higher levels, but few readers signed up for memberships at the smaller levels.
However, I was honored and touched by the expressions of appreciation we did receive from readers. Take, for example, the letter we received from Eva Mansell, along with a $20 check. “Hi and THANK YOU for what you all do! Wish it could be more, but I’m on a low, fixed income … but I (so) appreciate the (astronomy column), the local issues/politics and articles.”
Thank you, Eva. That letter made my month.
It’s not too late to join Eva in supporting the Independent. Visit CVIndependent.com/Supporters, or write us at the address at the top left.
• Season is almost here … so that means the Best of Coachella Valley readers’ poll is here, too! First-round voting in some 130-plus categories is now under way; click here to vote! Contact me with questions!
As always, thanks for reading. Also, keep your eyes open for the September 2017 print edition of the Independent, hitting the streets of the Coachella Valley in 380-plus locations this week!