Coachella Valley Independent

Indy Digest: May 22, 2023

I’d like to draw your attention to three stories today, all of which have to do with the state of the newspaper world today.

First up: We’ve talked a bit in this space about The Californian; it’s the Gannett-owned paper in Salinas that has zero reporters and editors on staff. Gannett also owns The Desert Sun, which, fortunately, actually still has some writers and editors.

Well, a newspaper in Oregon has been similarly gutted by the greedy executives who run Gannett—something which caught the attention of The Oregonian in Portland:

The Eugene Register-Guard, once one of the best newspapers in the region, today has no local editor, no publisher, no physical newsroom and little love from a dismayed citizenry. The news staff that once exceeded 80 now stands at six.

The paper’s editor quit last fall and was not replaced locally. The two remaining news reporters are taking direction from editors at the Statesman Journal, located 66 miles north in Salem. The third largest paper in Oregon has taken control of the second largest.

The architect of this tectonic shift in Oregon journalism is Gannett Co. Inc., a financially challenged creation of New York financiers that has become notorious for its rapid-fire acquisition of hundreds of newspapers and the radical downsizing that typically follows.


Second, let’s turn our attention to the local Gannett paper … where the unionized members of the newsroom are raising money to prepare for a possible strike.

On the GoFundMe page for the The Desert Sun NewsGuild Strike Fund, staffer Paul Albani-Burgio writes:

Our pay has not kept up with the valley’s rapidly rising cost of living, which has been supercharged in the last two years by the enormous inflation seen nationwide.

Our wages are now so low that some of us struggle to afford basics like a one-bedroom apartment and in many cases officially qualify as “low income” here in Riverside County. …

The Desert Sun’s staff is keenly aware of the many challenges facing the news industry in the 21st century and has long shown a willingness to make sacrifices, and have serious conversations with leadership about what must be done to evolve our approaches and practices so that we can continue to do this important work for the community we love for years to come.

What our staff is no longer willing to do, however, is struggle to just get by while Gannett executives earn multimillion dollar annual salaries.

Hear hear!

The final piece I want to highlight is one of my own. It’s the Editor’s Note for our June print edition. I penned it just before we sent the issue—which was rather light on advertising—to press. I start off by talking about how much time I spend going through emails, many of them coverage requests:

There are public-relations and advertising firms in town—which regularly send us press releases and requests for coverage on behalf of their clients—that have never once placed an ad with the Independent, in 10 1/2 years of business. The same can be said about countless organizations and businesses, many of which have received coverage in our pages.

I’ve said this before, and I am going to say it again: If you don’t support local media sources you value, they will die. I’ll now say it again, with a slight tweak, extra loudly, to those aforementioned PR/advertising firms, organizations and businesses: If you don’t support the local media sources that cover you and/or your clients, they will die.

The newspaper business in 2023 sure is something …

—Jimmy Boegle

From the Independent

A Note From the Editor: Businesses, Organizations Who Value Local Media Coverage Need to Advertise

By Jimmy Boegle

May 22nd, 2023

There are public-relations and advertising firms in town—which regularly send us press releases and requests for coverage on behalf of their clients—that have never once placed an ad with the Independent, in 10 1/2 years of business.

Civic Solutions: Local Food Banks and Service Agencies Are Working to Decrease the Stigma Around Food Insecurity—While Helping Those in Need

By Maria Sestito

May 21st, 2023

The United States Department of Agriculture defines food insecurity as a lack of consistent access to enough food for every person in a household to live an active, healthy life—and anyone can end up in the position.

Tequila Basics: Get to Better Know This Amazing Agave-Based Spirit

By Michael Moberly

May 22nd, 2023

Most people hate tequila because of the deep trauma experienced from garbage brands—and most people learn to love it once they have tasted real quality.

The Indy Endorsement: The Michael’s Sandwich at Mr. B’s Subs

By Jimmy Boegle

May 22nd, 2023

“Michael’s” sandwich includes turkey breast, provolone, crispy bacon, lettuce, tomato, red onion and—most importantly—jalapeno cilantro pesto, all on toasted sourdough.

More News

The seemingly impossible has happened: The seven states that use Colorado River water have reached an agreement on usage cuts. The Los Angeles Times says: “Representatives of the states reached the consensus after months of negotiations, with California, Arizona and Nevada together committing to reduce water use by 3 million acre-feet between now and the end of 2026 — an average of 1 million acre-feet per year, cutting usage by about 14% across the Southwest. The agreement represents a major milestone in the region’s efforts to grapple with the Colorado River’s decline. The river, which supplies states from the Rocky Mountains to the U.S.-Mexico border, has long been over-allocated, and its reservoirs have declined to their lowest levels on record during 23 years of drought worsened by rising temperatures with climate change.”

• We’re starting off the “More News” section with two good-news pieces in a row! From the city of Palm Springs: “RivCo Public Health reports there was no detection of Mpox in the samples taken from the City’s wastewater treatment plant during the testing period of May 8-15, 2023.” Yes! Fingers crossed that continues. By the way, if you’re not vaccinated yet, consider doing so at one of these vaccine clinics.

• If you’re thinking about adopting or fostering a dog—especially a big dog—now’s a good time to pull the figurative trigger. From the Palm Springs Animal Shelter: “The Palm Springs Animal Shelter needs your help! We are currently over-capacity with big dogs, and we need your help finding homes for these incredible dogs. Right now, we have 85 big dogs and 42 kennels. You do the math. This is a very alarming situation. We’re taking in more dogs than we are adopting, and we are out of space. And since we never euthanize for space or length of stay, we really need to find forever homes for some of these dogs. … You can help ensure that they wind up in the loving homes they deserve by adopting or fostering a big dog, or simply spreading the word about how amazing they are.” If the adoption fee is an issue, the PSAS indicates that they can “work something out.” Learn more at

Let this Insider story serve a reminder that it’s VERY important to be sure information you see on social media is accurate before spreading it around: “A fake image of an explosion near the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., may have been created by artificial-intelligence tools. But that didn’t stop it from being spread by dozens of accounts on social media—and the stock market briefly dipped as the fake news spread. An image appearing to show a massive cloud of smoke near a building and claims that there had been an explosion near the Pentagon started circulating on Twitter early Monday. But the image and associated claims were fake, the Arlington Police Department said. … Most other accounts that retweeted the image appear to be affiliated with conspiracies or the war in Ukraine.”

Yikes! I had no idea contaminated eye drops could be so dangerous. CBS News says: “The outbreak of extensively drug-resistant bacteria linked to eye drops recalled earlier this year is continuing to grow, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says, with 81 cases and four deaths now reported across 18 states. The figures published Friday by the agency mark the first increase in deaths since March, when the CDC tallied three dead. For months, the Food and Drug Administration has urged Americans to stop using two brands of eye drops suspected by investigators to be linked to the outbreak: Delsam Pharma and EzriCare.” If you use eye drops, please double-check!

• And finally … last week, we mentioned that the Los Angeles Dodgers had rescinded an invitation to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to participate in their annual Pride night, caving to pressure “social conservatives” including Sen. Marco Rubio. Well, this afternoon, the Dodgers backtracked: “After much thoughtful feedback from our diverse communities, honest conversations within the Los Angeles Dodgers organization and generous discussions with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, the Los Angeles Dodgers would like to offer our sincerest apologies to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, members of the LGBTQ+ community and their friends and allies. We have asked the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to take their place on the field at our 10th annual LGBTW+ Pride Night on June 16. We are pleased to share that they have agreed to receive the gratitude of our collective communities for the lifesaving work that they have done tirelessly for decades.” Again, hear hear!

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Jimmy Boegle is the founding editor and publisher of the Coachella Valley Independent. He is also the executive editor and publisher of the Reno News & Review in Reno, Nev. A native of Reno, the Dodgers...