FAQ: What’s The Palm Springs Post all about?
Palm Springs Post founder Mark Talkington and reporter Kendall Balchan. (Photo by Brelinda)

FAQ: What’s The Palm Springs Post all about?

Palm Springs Post image

Palm Springs Post

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February 12, 2022

Ever since sending out our first newsletter in February 2021, readers have been curious what The Post is about, who owns it, and how the newsroom operates. Following are some attempts at answers to some of our most frequently asked questions and submitted comments.

‘I really like your newspaper. Thanks for doing it.’

We appreciate the enthusiasm for The Post, but we don’t print anything. Instead, we’re a 100% digital news operation (on purpose). What does that mean? It’s a tough concept to grasp for many people who have only known print media in the community, but that means The Post is only available online — where we try to update the website as often as possible — and in your email inbox, where we send out The Daily Briefing every Monday through Friday, and our Palm Springs Profiles one Sunday a month. We’ve designed the website to be as friendly as possible to navigate on mobile devices and computer screens. You’ll notice there are currently no advertisements on the website and no other clunky design elements. That’s on purpose so that it’s easier to read.

It’s also important to note that our region already has a newspaper and that we are not trying to replace it (although we’re flattered that many of you think we’re trying). We’re simply attempting to provide additional coverage of the community as the paper’s footprint continues to shrink, and to provide that coverage free of charge. It’s important that you know the newspaper’s shrinking footprint is by no means the fault of any of the talented editors, reporters, or visual journalists who work there. Many of them have served this community for years, despite low pay, long hours, and disappearing resources. That’s the fault of the newspaper’s East Coast overlords, not the people with cameras and notepads you see out and about. Besides, if offering up additional coverage of our community helps spur the newspaper and TV stations to focus more on Palm Springs, we’re happy to help.

Who is behind The Post?

For the first year, it was just one person — Mark Talkington, a Palm Springs resident and veteran journalist. You can see his LinkedIn profile here. And, yes, in addition to producing The Post he works a full-time job for a mainstream, corporate-owned media product. In 2022, Kendall Balchan joined us as a reporter. She’s Indio born and raised and worked for years at one of the local TV stations. We’re also fortunate to feature some photography by Brelinda. Not only is she cool enough to go by only her first name, she’s also an Indio native and has spent her life in and around both the Hi-Desert and Coachella Valley. Check out her work here.

It’s important to mention that The Post is 100% independent and not owned or backed by corporate interests. We do partner with an organization named Indiegraf Media. It’s a Canadian-based company started by two sisters to help stand up independent news organizations that serve underrepresented communities. Indiegraf’s values most align with ours, and we lean on them for technical help and audience growth strategies.

Who makes the editorial decisions?

The short answer is that you do, with our help. We depend on readers to tell us what to report. That’s why we say in our mission statement that The Post “tells our readers’ stories by listening to them and making sure they are valued and understood.” Our reporting staff also depends on its experience, its news-gathering acumen, and its ability to stay abreast of local events through a broad range of sources when making decisions on what to report on.

Why didn’t you report on or dive more deeply into (insert topic here)?

We try hard to produce as much content as possible, but at the end of the day we have to acknowledge the limitations of a staff our size. Still, we consider thorough news coverage to be a process, and try to offer a range of stories over time. Not every story is a be-all, end-all deep dive on a subject, and not every story will address pet grievances of activists. We regularly produce shorter stories while simultaneously working on longer, more deeply reported treatments of the same subjects. Those stories are extremely labor-intensive and often involve records searches and other deeper-level reporting. Most readers understand we’re a tiny staff and can only do so much, and that deeper dives take time. We truly appreciate that.

Why don’t your stories allow reader comments?

See above about being a small staff. We don’t have the time to moderate comments. But let’s be honest — unmoderated comments at most other news sites quickly devolve into platforms for abusive behavior and the intentional or accidental spread of misinformation. We do allow comments on our Facebook page, and reserve the right to moderate those.

Why don’t you have letters to the editor or opinions?

The short answer is we don’t think our opinion matters, and that you’re probably flooded with everyone else’s hot takes already. Our job as journalists is to listen and report as unbiasedly as possible. But we also believe in being allies and advocates for those whose voices are often drowned out by powerful people who have influence at corporate media operations. We practice “engaged journalism,” not “bothsidesism,” in hopes of better serving communities that have been traditionally underserved.

How do you make money when it’s free to read The Post?

We’re glad you asked! First off, the community supports us by chipping in what they feel our work is worth. Unlike corporate media operations you’re used to, we don’t hide anything behind a “pay wall.” By supporting our work you assure none of the vital news and information about the community we report on is hidden only for people who can afford to pay. Secondly, we partner with local businesses and organizations we feel align with us. You can find their messages in The Daily Briefing. What we don’t do is weigh down our newsletter or website with trashy, cheap advertisements from businesses that can prey on our audience. We leave that to the corporate media. If you’d like to partner with us, we’d love to hear from you. Find out more about that by going here.

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The Post was founded by local residents who saw gaps in existing news coverage and believed our community deserved better.

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