Our Model and Commitment
The mission of the Alhambra Source community news site is to enable civic engagement and immigrant integration, and to be a model for taking up the 21st Century challenge of revitalizing democracy through local media serving diverse communities. Fully half of Alhambra’s residents are immigrants and helping them become part of the fabric of American civic life is a core element in the Alhambra Source’s mission. In this, the Alhambra Source is part of the national effort to reinvigorate local journalism, so essential for advancing democracy. With many threats to democracy, such as low voting rates in local elections, there is a broad effort to support the creation of a journalism that encourages citizen participation in their communities.
Throughout American history, our political representatives have recognized the need for what they called the Fourth Estate – media that serve as a watchdog on government in order to ensure its smooth functioning and to prevent the loss of democratic values. Thomas Jefferson, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence and the third president of the United States, wrote during the debate over our Constitution, “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” His reasoning is found in another letter to those engaged in writing the Constitution: “Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government.” Of the 88 cities in Los Angeles County, many do not have a local journalism enterprise, and this has meant that these residents do not have the information they need to participate in the decisions that affect the quality of their everyday lives. There is an emerging consensus that some democratic institutions have to be rebuilt from the ground up — in the spaces and places of local communities. The Alhambra Source is part of that effort.
Of course, local journalism can shake things up. Transparency is essential, but it may be uncomfortable to those not used to responsible news coverage.
In this time, when journalism in general is attacked as being producers of “fake news,” it is hard for citizens to know what media to trust. As the co-founders of the Alhambra Source, we are dedicated to independent and responsible journalism that serves all the ethnic communities that make up Alhambra.
This does not mean that we will be perfect, no journalistic entity is, nor does it mean that our staff-written stories along with opinion pieces written by our community contributors will not produce discomfort. It does mean that the inclusion of community voices is part and parcel of the democracy that we all treasure.
– Sandra J. Ball-Rokeach and Michael Parks, Co-Founders of the Alhambra Source