A decade and a half ago, when I was the editor of the weekly newspaper in Tucson, Ariz., I put together a business plan to start a new weekly newspaper in the greater Palm Springs area, called—you guessed it—the Coachella Valley Independent.
Those plans would not come to be, thanks largely to the Great Recession. Fortunately, the Independent would come to be—not as a weekly, but as an online publication with a monthly print edition—more than four years later, when my husband and I decided to take the figurative leap.
I recently dusted off that old business plan and gave it a look. While most of the features I planned for the weekly version of the Independent eventually made their way into the online/monthly version of the Independent, several didn’t—like a regular golf column, for example. There was also, as described on Page 14 of my business plan, “a society/charity page or section (my tentative title: ‘Do-Gooder’).”
While the Independent has covered many local nonprofits and their associated charity events over the years, we’ve never had a regular section dedicated to such things. That is, until now: In our February print edition and at CVIndependent.com, you’ll find our inaugural Do-Gooder coverage.
Do-Gooder will consist of three parts, two of which we’ve launched right away. First off, we’re publishing at least one feature each month on a local nonprofit, written by Independent staffers and contributors. Second: Local nonprofits will be able to publish, for free, their own pieces online (as long as they meet our standards). In print, we’re running the Independent-produced feature(s), and excerpts from the pieces provided by nonprofits. (If you work for a nonprofit and want information on how to do this, drop me a line.)
Down the line a bit, we’ll launch the third part of Do-Gooder: Society-style coverage from selected nonprofit events around the valley.
It’s no coincidence that we’re launching Do-Gooder just weeks after the local daily suspended its Desert Scene section due to budget cuts. In the wake of the elimination of Desert Scene, a number of folks—representatives of local nonprofits, event promoters and others—reached out to the Independent to ask if we planned to fill the gap.
The answer: Yes, indeed we are.
It should be noted that Julie Makinen, The Desert Sun’s executive editor—someone for whom I have great respect, as she’s managed to keep The Desert Sun viable despite the idiocy of its parent company, Gannett—is trying to get together enough money in local donations to bring back Desert Scene. I don’t fault her for doing this, though I fault Gannett for putting Julie in this predicament.
Regardless of whether she succeeds, we’re dedicated to Do-Gooder—and to continuing to fill as many gaps we can in local coverage as Gannett continues its death spiral.
Note: This is the editor’s note that appeared in the February 2023 print edition. Another version of this column was originally published online in the Jan. 13 Indy Digest.