Thursday , February 22 2024

Some Rural Fresno County Towns Have A Local Newspaper, But They’re Still News Deserts

In small towns, news travels fast. But it’s usually based on word of mouth, not verifiable facts. More and more rural places in the San Joaquin Valley are becoming news deserts — even the local newspapers are mostly ads and press releases.We traveled to western Fresno County to find out what that means for the people who live there. Joseph Riofrio is one Mendota resident who’s frustrated with the limited news coverage. He used to be a city council member, and two time mayor. These days, he runs the town pool hall, and is campaigning for another round on the city council. Riofrio pulls out a flyer the city sends to residents along with the water bill. It’s called “The Mendota Journal.” “This comes in the water bill, in English and Spanish,” Riofrio says. There’s so little news in this town, even the city is trying to reach residents with a newsletter. Riofrio says that news coverage in Mendota is very limited. If he wants to know what’s going on, he checks the Fresno Bee’s website or

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