Happy holidays, everyone—and I hope you’re enjoying the results of our eighth annual Best of Coachella Valley readers’ poll!
While the BOCV package already contains some staff-pick awards, including several of my own, I’d like to offer up a few more here.
• Best Storyteller in Local Journalism: Independent staff writer Kevin Fitzgerald. Regular readers know Kevin’s byline well—he’s been writing for us for 8 1/2 years now, and he’s been our staff writer for 2 1/2 years. Regular readers also know how good he is at explaining the stories behind the stories when it comes to valley organizations. He shines a light on the Palm Springs Air Museum—the Best of Coachella Valley readers’ pick as Best Local Museum—for the BOCV package. He also recently told the story behind the Animal Samaritans’ capital campaign, and explained why this longtime local nonprofit must expand in order to, among other things, provide more veterinary care in a valley that badly needs it.
• Best Local Journalist Who Can’t Yet Get Into Half of the Venues He Covers: Independent contributor Matt King. The Independent is blessed with a fantastic group of talented and knowledgeable contributors, but Matt is, by far, the most prolific of the bunch. He’s our primary music writer, and because he’s a highly regarded local musician himself, he knows where to find the stories that need to be told. For BOCV package, he penned a feature on Bob Gentry (the Best of Coachella Valley readers’ pick as Best Local Musician) as well as six staff picks. Not only is Matt prolific; he’s an amazingly talented interviewer and writer. This is all pretty impressive for someone who’s not yet old enough to legally buy a beer. The Independent is very fortunate to have Matt as part of the team—as are you, our readers, who get to enjoy all of his fantastic coverage.
• Best Graphic Designer: Dennis Wodzisz. Dennis has been doing the Independent’s cover and feature-story design for a year now—and if you look at the last 12 issues, you’ll instantly see how amazingly talented he is. He deserves special props for his design of this year’s Best of Coachella Valley logo. Few designers could come up with such a bonkers, yet colorful, yet amazing look for a logo.
• Best Newspaper Readers: You. In the last year, you’ve picked up our print edition, visited CVIndependent.com, read our Indy Digest newsletter and supported our advertisers in record numbers. Some of you have also directly supported us via our Supporters of the Independent program. All of us here thank each and every one of you for helping us get back on our feet throughout 2021.
Don’t hesitate to drop me a line if you have questions, comments or suggestions—and be sure to pick up our December 2021 print edition, aka our Best of Coachella Valley issue, hitting the streets this week!