It was a good week to be a reader of the Palm Springs Post.
The Post was first to tell you that a planned Palm Springs campus for College of The Desert was possibly on the chopping block due to allegations of a political power play, that an 850-unit home development was planned in the north end of town, and that a long time business owner in the city had her cannabis permit suspended. The Post was also the only media present when the city’s new police chief first met with leaders in the African-American community, and the only media to speak with the buyer of a property who wants the city to have it for a homeless services center, which is proving controversial. Readers saw those stories first, but also saw coverage of our annual Pride and Veterans Day parades, and lots more, all for free.
If you weren’t aware, The Post is a one-person operation. While the regional corporate media outlets can afford dozens of reporters, and they produce lots of content, it’s just one person cranking out The Post. I’m proud of the work I’ve done, and proud that you have joined me to create an independent news outlet for our city that is more interested in public service than profit.
As the old adage goes: But wait, there’s more! A week ago, thanks to your support, I was finally able to launch The Post’s website. Today I’m sharing that news widely with you.
Why a website, when the Daily Briefing newsletter seems to be such a big hit? Let me explain:
One of the best compliments I get about The Post is when somebody tells me they appreciate all the work “you guys” are doing. Long ago I stopped pointing out the fact it’s just me, Mark, one of your neighbors, working at a desk in my bedroom to send out all the daily emails you get in your inbox each morning, and all the stories and calendar items in those emails.
People at events I cover often remark, “Wow, you’re everywhere.” And they’re right. Being everywhere and reporting on everything in a city is what good community journalists do in an attempt to serve their audience. It is an absolute joy to do this work!
It wasn’t until last week that I really took stock in the volume of that work. Just as Pride was kicking into gear, I quietly launched The Palm Springs Post’s website. Finally, all in one place were hundreds of stories I’ve written about Palm Springs, and hundreds of Daily Briefing emails I’ve sent. It’s no wonder I had to quit my “real” job in August to devote myself full-time to The Post.
All of this began only eight months ago when I sent the first email to two people. It escalated in September when I asked what had become thousands of email subscribers to support The Post during a Founding Members campaign. Hundreds of you responded enthusiastically, exceeding the goal I set. Thanks to your generosity and belief in the community journalism I practice, The Post is now a permanent part of our community. If all goes well, I can even foresee a day when I might draw a salary. Thank you!
I made a couple of promises to you during that campaign, and I’m delighted to tell you that the first promise I made has been fulfilled with the launch of the website. I promised it would meet my standards and yours. I promised it would be devoid of the clickbait and clutter found in corporate news sites you read. I promised it would be easy to navigate and mobile friendly.
Above all, I promised it would be free to access all the content on the website. Thanks to the voluntary support of the community, there is no paywall. You won’t see a message saying you’ve read your “five free articles” for the month. The Post was founded and will continue to operate on the belief that vital news and information should be available for everyone in our community, not just those who can afford to pay for it.
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So, what’s next? Plenty.
During the Founding Members campaign, those who signed up were asked a few simple questions. The questions were designed to take the pulse of the community and guide my work. I can tell you with confidence that the overwhelming majority of you identified the homelessness crisis, the proliferation of short-term vacation rentals, and crime as the most pressing issues in our community.
Those issues are familiar in many cities, and they are complicated. But in bringing my content over from SubStack and organizing it into topics, I can see why The Post has grown to more than 5,000 subscribers in only eight months – I’ve done a lot of reporting on these issues, and much of it has been either before the other media in the Coachella Valley, or better. You can expect that coverage to continue, as well as the nuts-and-bolts coverage of City Hall, businesses, schools, and more.
It’s not all so complicated. There’s a reason why the city’s marketing materials say Palm Springs is like no place else. We are an incredible community of bright, creative, compassionate people. Since launching the Palm Springs Profiles emails on Sundays I’ve been able to introduce you to several people who are making a difference but may not land on the radar of the larger media. Profiles is by far the most popular thing I do, and I plan to continue sending it out each week.
Speaking of creativity, I also hope to expand The Post’s coverage of the arts in our city. To do that, I’ve created an Arts & Culture section, and I’ll be leaning a bit on the talented journalists at The Coachella Valley Independent to help populate the section. The Independent, like The Post, is free for everyone, and depends on voluntary support to keep its content free. I encourage you to support their efforts by going here. I’ve also created special sections for our community’s largest events – Greater Palm Springs Pride and Modernism. In the coming months I hope to expand those sections to provide not only guides to all the events in town during those celebrations, but to also tell the stories of the people who make those events happen.
I’ve got other big plans that will help ensure The Post is serving the community as best it can. I promise to tell you more about those later. But for now, I hope you enjoy what you, the readers, have helped create – a new and improved Palm Springs Post.