My first experience at a "real" newspaper came in 1996, when I spent the summer between my junior and senior years of college as an intern at my hometown alternative newsweekly, the Reno News & Review.
The News & Review back then was only a couple of years old—it was so new, in fact, that more often than not, people I contacted on the paper's behalf had never heard of it.
Despite the lack of respect and the terrible pay, I fell in love with the alt-weekly way of doing things. I adored the irreverent tone, the freedom to use whatever language we wanted, and the fact that we were filling in the ample gaps left by the town's corporate-owned daily. We were, to use that old journalism cliché, truly afflicting the comfortable, and comforting the afflicted.
Back then, the Tucson Weekly was already in its second decade of existence, and was well-regarded in journalism circles. Little did I know that within a few years, I would become the editor of my hometown alt-weekly, and that a couple of years after that, I'd become the editor of the venerable, respected Tucson Weekly.
It was my love of alt-weeklies that brought me to Tucson in early 2003. It was my love of alt-weeklies that kept me here for a decade. And it's my continuing love of alt-weeklies that's taking me away from Tucson and the Weekly.
The Coachella Valley—you probably know it as the metro area that includes Palm Springs, Calif., as well as that big music festival—is lacking a true alt-weekly (and, for that matter, strong news media all around). In other words, the Coachella Valley needs a publication like the Reno News & Review and the Tucson Weekly.
So, as many of you already know, I am heading off to the Coachella Valley next month to launch the Coachella Valley Independent. That means the Dec. 27 issue of the Tucson Weekly will be my last as editor.
Next week, I'll share some parting thoughts. In the meantime, happy holidays, and thanks for reading.