CVIndependent

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Editor's Note

29 Jun 2013
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I was just flipping through some of this week’s local free print publications—and boy, is it ugly. One of them is filled with mere press releases (save a couple of bylined culture columns), as it always is. Another features a page-one music story that, at least at the start, seems more about the publishers’ crush on the band than the band itself. I could go on, but I won’t. If you’ve read these publications before, you know what I am talking about. (If you think I am being rude by pointing out these publications’ weaknesses: I am sorry, but valley residents deserve better, don’t they?) That’s why I am particularly excited about the second print issue of the Independent, which will be hitting the streets of the Coachella Valley this week. There are no reprinted press releases in our summer quarterly (and no stories discuss my crushes, musical or otherwise).…
09 Apr 2013
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I have done pretty much everything there is to do at a newspaper during my career. But last week, I did, to quote Monty Python, something completely different. I rented a 24-foot U-Haul truck, drove to the printer, and picked up 15,500 copies of the debut issue of a brand-new paper; I then trucked that haul to our distributor. Yep. That was a first. As I type, those 15,500 copies of Vol. 1, Issue 1 of the Coachella Valley Independent are on racks and/or are about to be distributed on racks throughout the Coachella Valley. The feedback is starting to dribble in already, for which I am grateful. For example, one person was kind enough to call me at 7:45 a.m. on Saturday and praise the food writing, and to suggest that I freelance for The Desert Sun, because the daily seems to need food writers right now. (Um ……
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…

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