As we approach the end of 2020, I am feeling a mixture of emotions. There’s fear and anxiety, with some hope sprinkled in—along with a whole lot of gratitude.
On a personal level, this year got off on the wrong foot back in January, when the hubby suffered a serious knee injury as he slipped on a wet San Francisco sidewalk after buying groceries. A couple weeks later—the day after his knee surgery—I fell at our Palm Springs Craft Cocktail Week Championship and dislocated my right elbow.
We were both in physical therapy when the pandemic arrived and shut everything down.
I’ll never forget the feeling—a sickening fear small-business owners all around the world were experiencing—as I watched our April print edition turn from a packed 40-page special Music Issue into a money-losing 24-page paper … with a bedraggled roll of toilet paper on the cover. (Hey, it’s important to have a sense of humor even in the darkest of times, right?)
However, the Independent never suspended our print edition—like a lot of other publications understandably did—because our readers kept finding ways to pick it up, even though many of our normal distribution locations were closed. Meanwhile, we started a well-received series of stories on how the pandemic was affecting us here in the Coachella Valley, and launched our Daily Digest, a melding of commentary and links to reliable news stories that’s both posted at CVIndependent.com and emailed to more than 4,000 people.
With advertising revenues collapsing, we also asked for help—and our readers responded in a big way, with dozens of people each month becoming Supporters of the Independent, sending us between $10 and $500 to help us keep going. That—combined with support from businesses that continued advertising despite the economic downturn, as well as financial support from the Google News Initiative, the Facebook Journalism Project and Riverside County—meant the Independent has thus far been able to avoid significant cutbacks. Instead, we’ve been able to focus on doing quality journalism, while also making improvements to what we do—including a brand-new website that’s slated to launch in mid-December.
That amazing support is why, as the end of 2020 approaches, I am filled with gratitude. I don’t know what these last days of 2020 and the start of 2021 will bring—nobody knows, really—but the continued support from you, our amazing readers, is why there’s hope sprinkled in with that fear and anxiety.
As always, thanks for reading, and please contact me at the email address below if you have questions or feedback—and be sure to pick up our December print edition, our special Best of Coachella Valley issue.