Alhambra Source is the only local news outlet dedicated to covering the predominantly immigrant San Gabriel Valley city of 85,000. The site launched in 2010, building on two years of research by professors and students at USC Annenberg's School for Communication and Journalism investigating how local news can increase civic engagement in Alhambra and other diverse cities. Since then dozens of community members — working with a professional journalist — have reported on Alhambra. The site serves as a forum for local voices, and a platform for the expression and development of writers, videographers, and photographers.
Want to get involved or have questions? Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Annenberg School of Journalism Director Geneva Overholser spoke in September 2012 with Alhambra Source Editor Daniela Gerson about USC Annenberg's newly launched Civic Engagement and Journalism Initiative and how Alhambra Source plays an integral role in improving community engagement via thoughtful journalism. Watch below.
9.17.2012: Alhambra Source at 2
Four years ago a team of communication scholars, researchers and journalists set out to create a community news website that would increase civic engagement and cross ethnic barriers in a predominantly Asian and Latino immigrant city. Since Alhambra Source launched in 2010, it has grown to more than 60 community contributors who speak 10 languages and range in age from high school students to retirees. Their stories have helped shape local policy and contributed to a more engaged citizenry within a diverse community.
Read on for five lessons we have learned along the way about improving civic engagement through a local news site.
9.2.2011: Alhambra Source Turns 1
One year ago, I watched nervously in a loft tucked away above Lovebirds café as our webmaster made the Alhambra Source go live. I was about to find out whether an experiment based on two years of research by USC scholars was viable: Could a local news website, staffed primarily by volunteers, not only provide valuable local information, but also engage diverse residents who often do not speak the same language?...
Read the story of Alhambra Source's first year, and what's next.
What people are saying about Alhambra Source:
Reporting Pushes Past Language and Ethnic Divides — Nieman Reports
"A new website has recently entered the online news arena, providing critical information to the residents of Alhambra, a small city located a few miles east of downtown Los Angeles. And it's doing so in multiple languages."
"the most impressive hyperlocal journalism site we’ve ever seen...Dreamed up by forward-thinking folks at USC’s Annenberg School for Journalism & Communication, Alhambra Source is a full-fledged community newspaper that exists only online—and has content in three languages, English, Mandarin and Spanish. It has a strong team of writers (including restaurant reviews from respected bloggers Two Hungry Pandas), and it welcomes community contributions yet stays professional in tone, look and content."
"Beautifully edited community paper" — Jonathan Gold
Community Advocate Award (2013) — New American Media
Finalist in Health Reporting (2013) — New American Media
Youth Journalism Award (2011): "Why are so few other Latino students in leadership positions?" — Los Angeles Multicultural Leadership Network and New America Media Inter-Ethnic Relations Awards,
"USC Annenberg Alhambra Experiment Running Out of Funds" (Media Bistro, 5.13.13)
"The Melting-Pot Gazette" (Pacific Standard Magazine, 5.13.13)
"Beyond Los Angeles" (German press: Taz.de, 1.19.13)
"Internet instead of L.A. Times" (Austrian press: Die Presse, 2.23.13)
"Hyperlocal Forums Like 'Nextdoor' Aim to Give Local News a Makeover, Foster Neighborliness" (GOOD, 2.22.13)
With hyperlocal forums on the rise, will they replace or complement local news? (Online Journalism Review, 2.22.13)
Can hyperlocal news increase civic engagement? (New Zealand Press: Future News, 1.26.13)
How a youth Reporter Corps could help reinvigorate local journalism (Online Journalism Review, 10.28.12)
5 lessons learned: Improving civic engagement through a local news site (Online Journalism Review, 9.7.12)
"Panel focuses on media’s role in communities" (Daily Trojan, 8.28.12)
"How to interview, report on immigrants when you don’t speak their language" (Poynter, 11.21.11)
"Shaping 21st Century Journalism Schools" (New America Foundation, 10.27.11)
Reporting Pushes Past Language and Ethnic Divides (Nieman Reports, Summer 2011)
"5 Innovative Journalism School Partnerships" (10,000 Words/Media Bistro, 3.25.11)
"Q&A With Youth Reporters from Alhambra Source: How Reporting Can Impact Place" (MIT CoLab Radio, 1.4.11)
"ALHAMBRA SOURCE: Comment in Chinese, read it in English and Spanish" (Asian American Journalists Association — L.A., 1.4.11)
"J-Schools Shift from Learning Labs to Major Media Players" (Media Shift, 12.9.10)
"Annenberg Launches new Multilingual Hyperlocal Site" (Daily Trojan, 10.19.10)
"Alhambra Gets a Local News Website" (LAist, 10.7.10)
"Alhambra debuts hyperlocal news website" (Southern California Public Radio, 10.6.10)
"Alhambra Source" (Annenberg TV News, 10.6.2010)
"The Alhambra Source Offers News In Three Languages — English, Mandarin and Spanish" (L.A. Weekly, 9.8.2010)
"Three Cheers for Hyperlocal!" (Hometown Pasadena, 9.4.2010)