Coachella Unincorporated is a Youth Media Startup in the East Coachella Valley, funded by the Building Healthy Communities Initiative of The California Endowment and operated by New America Media in San Francisco. The purpose of the project is to report on issues in the community that can bring about change. Coachella Unincorporated refers to the region youth journalists cover but also to the unincorporated communities of the Eastern Valley with the idea to “incorporate” the East Valley into the mainstream Coachella Valley mindset.
Mission of Group
The ability to be objective and removed from a story is a privilege not held by us. We as community journalists share in the responsibility of promoting the change in the communities we cover and write about. A community journalist is a journalist dedicated to covering the Coachella Valley as well as engaging in the movement of progress. We are journalists the community can count on to call when they need us and refuse to be seen as only journalists but as part of their community and their plight for change and progress. We are not outsiders—we are part of the comunidad.
Students focus on reporting on community health impacting Coachella, Thermal, Mecca, North Shore and Oasis. That includes issues such as physical health but also poverty, unemployment and other issues affecting the community. So far, students have covered the Mecca odor issue, including a Senator Barbara Boxer/Erin Brochovich news conference, Coachella Fest, Stagecoach, issues of mobile home living conditions and water safety.
Coachella Unincorporated consists of young people from the East Valley. Students meet weekly, learn a journalism curriculum and report during the week. They are taught to report in a multi-media platform. They have had columns published in The Desert Sun, New America Media website and we have a Tumblr site, Facebook and Twitter pages. Coachella Unincorporated is a platform for the entire community.