USC Annenberg Alhambra Experiment Running Out of Funds

But the good news is, per an article in Pacific Standard, the Alhambra Source website may still survive as USC communications professor Sandra Ball-Rokeach is currently trying to find new sources of support to replace the grants that are scheduled to go away.

The overhead for this community news experiment launched in 2006 is low. Ball-Rokeach, together with USC colleague Michael Parks, sought to address the changing demographics of Alhambra and a paucity of coverage by the LA Times and Pasadena Star-News. From Joel Smith‘s article:

The site’s commitment to using community contributors rather than professional reporters has produced some journalistically unorthodox but popular stories: first-person accounts of being a second-generation immigrant, for instance, and a piece by the Alhambra High student body president, who explored the question of why he was the only Latino in a leadership position in a school that was half Latino…

Still, while relying mainly on unpaid community contributors may strengthen the local communication ecology, it’s a constant struggle to get them to produce professional-grade journalism. And the original idea to provide stories in all three local languages never went further than a handful of pages, due to a misplaced faith in the efficacy of Google Translate.

As article author Smith notes, the USC Alhambra initiative is another intriguing Web community news effort and a model that could perhaps be very useful to the new owners of the LA Times. Read the Pacific Standard Web producer’s full article here.

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