Saturday, June 27, 2009

Doing online journalism right: grape picking in the Coachella Valley

This article from the LA Times on the grape industry of Southern California shows how little it has come from the days of Cesar Chaves and the sixties' grape boycotts. Especially well done is the audio slide show that accompanies the piece.
The work is hard, dirty and dangerous. It begins at dawn when the air is sweet and moist and stretches until midafternoon, when temperatures can top 120 degrees and the sun feels like a steel-toed boot to the head.

The pay is $8 to $9 an hour, less than it was 40 years ago when adjusted for inflation.

"Nothing changes," says Arturo Rodriguez, an attorney in the Coachella office of California Rural Legal Assistance. "It's the same harvest of shame."


  1. I could totally make that. Why can't I find a job doing it?

  2. I think it's because news organizations, wary about the rapid technological shifts, have not created a lot of jobs explicitly for new media and are instead making this kind of work mandatory for the existing staff while they wait to see what will stick.