Indy Digest: March 30, 2023
I took a tour yesterday of the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s print facility—and the experience has had my mind going regarding the state of journalism ever since.
This facility is where the Independent’s sister publication in Reno is printed—even though Vegas and Reno are 440 miles away. Why? Because there are no commercial printers left in northwestern Nevada. And it’s where the Independent could perhaps be printed one day—because there are no commercial printers left in the Coachella Valley.
There aren’t a lot of commercial printers left in the rest of Southern California, either. A little more than a decade ago, before the Independent’s first print edition, I got about a half-dozen or so print bids from various SoCal printers—and I think every single one of them has closed down. For most of the Independent’s existence, we were printed at The Desert Sun building on Gene Autry, but—as most of you probably know—the press there was shuttered several years ago when parent-company Gannett sold the building. The Independent is now printed in Phoenix, at The Arizona Republic
The number of presses around these parts continues to dwindle. Next year, the Los Angeles Times will be shuttering its press and contracting with the Southern California News Group—the owner of The Press-Enterprise in Riverside, the Orange County Register and the San Bernardino Sun, among other papers—for printing.
This is all good news for the folks at the Las Vegas Review-Journal, where the print business is booming. But it’s bad news for journalism.
Yeah, I know what a lot of you are thinking: Who needs printing presses when people are consuming their news online these days? This Indy Digest, for example, doesn’t appear in print; it shows up in email inboxes and at CVIndependent.com. Online-only media sources like the Palm Springs Post are doing good work, with no paper involved.
Here’s the problem: Most newspapers these days still get the bulk of their revenue from printed newspapers. The Independent is no exception; while a significantly larger portion of our income arrives via digital advertising and reader support (thank you!) than it did just a few years ago, more than half still comes from the monthly print edition.
There’s another problem: A lot of people don’t get their news online. For some, this is because of a lack of reliable broadband access. Phones and data plans and internet access all cost money, after all. Other people don’t like tech, and prefer paper over pixels. All of these folks are left out when print news is unavailable.
The fact is, even now in 2023, there’s some level of correlation between printed newspapers and 1) reporters on the streets and 2) more people having an access to news. And that’s why we should all be concerned that so many printing presses are going away so rapidly.
From the Independent
Ending Isolation: What Can Be Done to Help Coachella Valley Seniors as They Struggle With Pandemic-Caused Loneliness?
By Kevin Fitzgerald
March 29th, 2023
About 60% of U.S. men and 71% of women over the age of 65 feel more lonely now than before the pandemic. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 32 percent of Coachella Valley residents are 60 years of age or older—meaning there are a lot of lonely people who are our neighbors.
Puppets, Anger, Lust: CVRep’s Production of ‘Hand to God’ Is Funny, Ribald, Thought-Provoking Theater
By Bonnie Gilgallon
March 29th, 2023
CVRep’s Hand to God is not for the faint of heart; there is no shortage of sex and bad language—but it sure is funny.
All Access: Rubine Red Gallery Shows the Behind-the-Scenes Photos of GoGo’s Drummer Gina Schock
By Cat Makino
March 30th, 2023
Made in Hollywood: The Photography of Gina Schock of the GoGo’s will open at Rubine Red gallery on Saturday, April 8, with a reception featuring Schock.
April Astronomy: Bright Stars, Brilliant Venus and Fading Mars Are This Month’s Celestial Highlights
By Robert Victor
March 30th, 2023
A sneak preview of the heavens in April 2023.
The Lucky 13: Uriel Avila, Guitarist/Vocalist for Caña
By Matt King
March 30th, 2023
Get to better know Uriel Avila, the guitarist/vocalist for Caña.
The Weekly Independent Comics Page for March 30, 2023!
March 30th, 2023
Topics tackled this week include cocoa powder, Florida, sexy turtles, crypto currency—and more!
• So, history was made today. The New York Times explains what happens next following the first-ever indictment of a former president: “He will be fingerprinted. He will be photographed. He may even be handcuffed. In the days ahead, Donald J. Trump is expected to walk through the routine steps of felony arrest processing in New York, now that a grand jury has voted to indict him in connection with his role in a hush-money payment to a porn star. But the unprecedented arrest of a former commander in chief will be anything but routine. Accommodations may be made for Mr. Trump. While it is standard for defendants arrested on felony charges to be handcuffed, it is unclear whether an exception will be made for the former president because of his status.”
• Example No. 397,883,208 of how our medical system is incredibly broken comes to us via NPR. It all started when Dr. Sara McLin took her 4-year-old son to the ER burned his hand on a stove last Memorial Day weekend. There are a lot of twists and turns, but this is the REALLY insane part: “McLin also received a bill from HCA Florida Trinity Hospital for its stand-alone ER at Lutz and decided to dispute the charges. But after calling the hospital to appeal, McLin said the billing department would not discuss the debt with her because the statement was in her young son’s name.”
• NPR takes a look at “spillover” flu cases—in other words, an animal flu strain that infects a human or humans. Should we be worried? The answer is a definite maybe. A little more: “For decades, scientists thought that animal viruses seldom jump into people. They thought these spillovers were extremely rare. But in the past few years, studies have been showing that this thinking is wrong. ‘I don’t think (spillover) is extremely rare,’ says evolutionary virologist Stephen Goldstein at the University of Utah. ‘I mean, we know this because when people start looking, people find it.’ In fact, there’s likely a whole group of animal viruses making people sick all over the world that doctors know nothing about. They’ve been hidden. They masquerade as a regular cold, flu or even pneumonia.”
• ChatGPT is changing the way things are “written” in so many ways. Here’s just one example, via CNBC: “Chad Rubin was looking for a way to spice up his Amazon listing for a vacuum hose. He was struggling to come up with a catchy title that would make shoppers want to click on his hose instead of the countless others in Amazon’s vast marketplace. For assistance, Rubin turned to ChatGPT, the artificial intelligence chatbot that’s gone viral since its launch late last year. He soon began to experiment with the tool for completing tasks such as generating copy on his product page. Rubin asked ChatGPT to ‘generate 5 insanely clever and catchy headlines’ for an infographic promoting his vacuum cleaner hose. ‘Dirt destroying air flow,’ he said, reading off one of ChatGPT’s responses. ‘I would have never in a million years thought of that for a vacuum hose.’”
• Another big music festival is coming to the Polo Grounds later this year. Music publication Pitchfork explains: “Metallica, AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses, Tool, Iron Maiden, and Ozzy Osbourne have announced a three-day mega-concert at the Empire Polo Field in Indio, California, from October 6-8. The event is called Power Trip, which is ostensibly a reference to the 2016 mega-concert Desert Trip and not an homage to the late Riley Gale’s beloved Texas thrash metal band. … The artists all teased the festival’s announcement on social media earlier in the week. Desert Trip in 2016 featured Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Neil Young, Roger Waters, and the Who. Like Desert Trip, Power Trip is being put on by Goldenvoice.”
• Tickets remain for Al Franken’s Palm Springs Speaks! appearance tomorrow (Friday). Here are some details if you want to see the former Saturday Night Live scribe, ex-U.S. senator and recent guest host of The Daily Show: “The talk will take place at the Richards Center for the Arts (the Palm Springs High School Auditorium) located at 2248 Ramon Road, Palm Springs, on March 31. A VIP reception, in which attendees will be able to have a photo opportunity with Senator Franken on the stage, begins at 6 p.m. and the talk starts at 7 p.m. The VIP reception will be catered by LULU California Bistro. As the reception will take place on school grounds, no alcohol will be served. The talk is expected to run for an hour and will be followed by a short Q&A session. Tickets are $35 rear reserved, $65 general admission, $95 premium reserved, and $175 VIP.” Up next for Palm Springs Speaks: Dave Barry, on Tuesday, May 9.
• And finally … let’s end with some good news about the future: An expert, writing for The Conversation, explains how 3-D printing technology could revolutionize the construction of housing: “Not since the adoption of the steel frame has there been a development with as much potential to transform the way buildings are conceived and constructed. Large-scale additive manufacturing, like desktop 3D printing, involves building objects one layer at a time. Whether it’s clay, concrete or plastic, the print material is extruded in a fluid state and hardens into its final form. As director of the Institute for Smart Structures at the University of Tennessee, I’ve been fortunate to work on a series of projects that deploy this new technology. While some roadblocks to the widespread adoption of this technology still exist, I can foresee a future in which buildings are built entirely from recycled materials or materials sourced on-site, with forms inspired by the geometries of nature.”
Support the Independent!
Thanks, as always, for reading! If you appreciate and value the Independent, and you have a buck or two to spare, please click the button below to become a Supporter of the Independent. We appreciate it!