As we reported this morning, McClatchy, the parent company of The News & Observer and the Durham Herald-Sun, has filed for bankruptcy. Assuming a judge approves its reorganization plan, it will be taken over by the hedge fund that owns the National Enquirer

That doesn’t sound too good, right? 

It doesn’t sound too good to Nate Baker, either. Baker, an urban planner and candidate for Durham County commissioner, posted on Facebook this morning that “local journalism is dying.”

“Today,” he wrote, “journalists are being laid off; and those that are still writing are working long hours for inadequate pay and benefits. We are missing major stories. Journalists just do not have the time to understand and adequately report key context for stories. Social media has taken over as one of our only sources of information. That’s a problem.”

His solution? A “Democracy Journalism Voucher.” As he explains: “These vouchers allow residents to use tax dollars to support independent investigative local journalism, empowering them with better information for informed objective decision-making. Each resident will be offered a $20 annual voucher that they can direct toward a non-profit local media source of their choice.”

That would not help the N&O, which is not nonprofit, nor the INDY, for that matter. (Although, if it went through, it is very possible we would have a nonprofit arm up and running in a matter of nanoseconds.) It would, however, help the army of high-quality local nonprofit outlets doing great work around here: NC Policy Watch, NC Health News, Carolina Public Press, among many others.  

And if you’re looking for a way to support local journalism right now, might I suggest clicking this link? It will only take a minute. 

Contact editor in chief Jeffrey C. Billman at 

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