Alhambra was chosen in 2008 as a research site because of its limited media coverage, ethnically and linguistically diverse population, and relatively low levels of civic engagement. The neighborhood is located in the western San Gabriel Valley region of Los Angeles County. It lies approximately eight miles from the Downtown Los Angeles civic center. Since Alhambra became an incorporated city in the early 1900s, it had been a predominantly Caucasian suburb. However, the neighborhood transformed into an immigrant community, experiencing a massive Asian influx into the area that began nearly three decades ago. During the 1990s, this residential area witnessed a 23.5% surge in the number of Asian residents, a 69.3% drop in the number of Anglo residents, and a slight growth of 4% in the number of Latinos (US Census Bureau, 1990, 2000). As of the 2010 Census, the population was 83,089; Asians, mostly ethnic Chinese, constituted 53% of the neighborhood’s current population, followed by Latinos (34%) and Anglos (10%).
Building on the 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, we launched a community news website, Alhambra Source, in 2010. The site serves as a forum for local voices, and a platform for the expression and development of writers, videographers, and photographers.