Connect with us


Valley residents kept The Desert Sun's opinion pages alive. We need your help again. – Desert Sun

Near the end of 2020, the Coachella Valley Journalism Foundation launched with a mission to strengthen and support local news in Coachella Valley communities. Thanks to the contributions of generous donors, numbering well over 100, we are helping sustain and bolster local newsrooms to keep our community informed and connected. I am proud of our progress to date.

This year, we have added two new members to our board, Randy Lovely and Cary Brazeman.
Randy is a veteran editor and newsroom manager at publications including the Arizona Republic and the USA Today Network. He was executive editor at The Desert Sun from 2000 to 2002. Cary is a marketing professional with a deep-seated commitment to community journalism. He writes letters to The Desert Sun when he is so moved and suggests local story ideas to reporters. (Joe Wallace and I remain as board members.)

Our first major project in 2021 was raising funds to underwrite the hiring of an opinion editor at The Desert Sun. Without our action, the opinion section of the newspaper faced the prospect of elimination — no more letters to the editor, Valley Voice columns, opinions from the editorial board or candidate endorsements.

Because of our successful fundraising drive, a new opinion editor was hired last May. Since then, more than 500 letters to the editor and Valley Voice columns that might otherwise never have been published made it into the pages of The Desert Sun and onto the website, enlivening community debate around topics ranging from short-term vacation rentals to the “Forever Marilyn” statue in Palm Springs, water usage, the new hockey arena and scores of other topics.

According to data from The Desert Sun, online readership of opinion content was up 34% over the previous year, thanks in part to a renewed focus on local issues and local voices.
Next, we secured a grant of over $10,000 to underwrite internships for college students in local newsrooms. We are in the process of selecting the participating newsrooms and interns. This effort is being coordinated by Randy, and we will have more to announce on this soon.
We have also submitted several other grant applications to support reporting initiatives and are hopeful they will be selected.

In the meantime, we are renewing our commitment to sustain the opinion editor position  at The Desert Sun. Without your help, the role will have to be eliminated and a vibrant forum for civic and civil debate will be shuttered. We do not want that to happen.

Our plan is to connect with those who supported our initial funding effort as well as others of you in the community who share our belief that an opinion section is vital to maintaining a vibrant newspaper. The 100+ donors we attracted last year stepped up with contributions ranging from $10 to $10,000. Every amount helps and keeps the public debate alive.
If you are reading this and supported us last year, kindly consider renewing your support and making a contribution for 2022. If you did not participate previously, please consider joining us. I have made my pledge and welcome yours!

CVJF is a 501(c)3 nonprofit and all contributions are tax-deductible. We accept donations via check, which can be mailed to 41550 Eclectic St., Palm Desert, CA, 92260, and by PayPal at

If you are interested in getting involved with CVJF as a volunteer or board member, we welcome you to write to us at
Our long-term aim is to find a sustainable solution for funding all The Desert Sun’s operations, and we have a strong core group of supporters who are close to achieving this goal.

We believe that informed, connected communities are better places to live. A healthy news ecosystem is vital to maintaining a healthy community. I hope you will support us in this critical mission.
Ricardo Loretta is president of the Coachella Valley Journalism Foundation.  Email him at


Continue Reading