A couple of weeks ago, I asked our Press Club members a simple question: Why did you join? 

After all, they don’t have to contribute to access our stories or our newsletters. And sure, there’s some swag every now and then, but unlike other local media organizations that occasionally ask for your support, we’re not about to put you on a plane to Antarctica when the quarantine lifts. 

I asked this question for us. I wanted to know what we were doing that our most engaged and committed readers were enjoying; from a strictly business perspective, you want to keep them happy, especially when there’s very little advertising revenue coming in. 

But as the answers started pouring in—dozens and then hundreds of them—it occurred to me that we shouldn’t keep them to ourselves. They say so much about the INDY’s relationship with the community it serves, about how the work we do matters, and reading them reminded me why it is such a privilege to work here. 

The INDY has been publishing since 1983, and in 37 years, neither we nor our industry has faced a moment like this. Here, in their own words, your friends and neighbors explain why they’ve chipped in $12 a month or $30 a month or $50 or $100—sometimes more, sometimes less—to keep this paper going for 37 more years. (I’ve kept them anonymous to avoid accidental privacy hiccups. But these are all straight from my inbox.)

If, after reading their answers to our one question, you’d like to join us, too, it’s easy: Just go to KeepItINDY.com. It’ll take two minutes. —Jeffrey C. Billman

I joined because I have been a regular reader since the mid-1990s. I have come to depend on INDY Week to provide me insightful news and opinion from the Triangle and the state. There is no other source for this type of journalism, and I would sorely miss it if the INDY could not continue. That is why I am supporting your work.

I joined the INDY Press Club because I really appreciate the Primer newsletter. I no longer live in North Carolina (though I do plan to move back ASAP), and I like that I can keep up with both local and national/world news in a single newsletter. I like the spotlight on the local food and arts scene (super helpful for when I get to visit!). I also (naively?) hope that independent journalism will save us all. [Editor’s note: If you’d like to subscribe to Primer, our morning newsletter, visit INDYPrimer.com.]

Initially, I joined because I’d grown tired of reading news articles that had a right-wing slant or left out vital facts and wanted to support your efforts to continue to provide the news without ads. Then, as I became a daily reader of Primer, I looked forward to reading the news with humor threaded throughout and details I found fascinating. You’re doing a hard job especially right now. Thank you for your dedication and your staff’s commitment.

I wanted to support local journalism. And the INDY is the best source for events and restaurant info in the Triangle. 

I have been reading this paper for a long time, maybe 20 years. I’ve always enjoyed the honest reporting, even though it ruffles some feathers sometimes.

It’s local. It’s independent. It’s nosy. It’s unafraid.

Living in Chapel Hill for the past three and a half years, I always grab a copy of the INDY when I spotted it at entrances to places I frequented. I love your coverage of politics and, as an outsider, your insider views are valued. Your request for membership came at the right time. How could I continue to take a copy of the INDY and not contribute? It’s like all the supporters of WUNC who say they feel an obligation to support a news source that they value. Keep up the good work. 

I was lost without Primer during its hiatus. [Ed. note: Primer took an extended break from 2018 until February.]

As a former journalist, I know that media is a watchdog that keeps everyone honest. We need you even when we may disagree.

I joined because I believe a free and independent press is the foundation of a healthy democracy (and we surely have a lot of work to do on that front). And to honor my dad, a career journalist who believed there was nothing more sacred than the pursuit of telling the truth in print. 

Oh man, where to begin? To narrow it, though, I joined for Primer, The Pride Issue, and Best of The Triangle. Keep on keepin’ on! 

I joined the INDY Press Club because I LOVE the Primer. It gives me everything I need to know each day. I’m happy to support local, truthful journalism. 

I vote Republican, voted for Trump in 2016, and intend to vote for President Trump again in 2020. I get my news from a variety of sources, including the INDY, which I have read since the mid-90s. I appreciate your thoughtful point of view even though I don’t always agree with it. I like your insight on local issues, especially local government. I also get my music news and see who is playing where. I intend to enjoy the INDY for years to come. 

I joined because I am a recovering journalist and have been disturbed by a lot of trends that have worked against the industry over the last 20 years or so. I also support ProPublica and NC Health News. I have subscriptions to The Washington Post and the Herald-Sun. I’ve also sent a donation to my hometown alt-weekly Cleveland Scene. I do what I can and only wish I could do more.

I joined the INDY Press Club because the paper is valuable to me. After my initial gift, I set up a recurring donation in an amount similar to the subscription price I pay for our local paper.  The INDY is good local journalism, focusing on stories that are important to me. 

Because I believe local news outlets are so important—especially those that are as responsible and dedicated as the INDY. I just wish I could donate more. 

I was an early adopter because a) I think the steady death of local journalism is a threat to our democracy, b) I like Primer, and c) it just seemed like the right thing to do.

I support the free independent and fearless journalism of the INDY. I also value the local Durham news. I enjoy the social commentary and the reviews of food, restaurants, and music.  Please keep it up!

Because the INDY provides great Triangle and state news, and as the N&O encounters more and more stress, it’s important to keep up the coverage. P.S., I support the N&O, too.

I moved to Chapel Hill from Berkeley seven years ago when I retired. I missed Northern California quite a lot but found a few things that reminded me of home. The INDY is one of those things. I joined just to support the cultural scene in some small way. 

I feel strongly that an independent newspaper is a guarantee of truthful information and freedom.

I love the diversity of the INDY and want the publication to continue.

I joined the INDY Press Club because I read the INDY every week! I hate to see it shrink! It’s the only local journalism we have! We need it!

I joined to support the INDY because there is no other reliable source for the valuable information on local candidates.

Our son lives in Durham, and we like the insight you provide into local issues—nice to have an alternative/independent perspective. 

We’ve been reading the INDY for years! But the reason I decided to become a member of the Press Club is that I began relying on your outstanding local journalism to guide me in decision-making during the 2019 elections. I looked to your reporting to help make my decisions on the local slate of candidates. That kind of quality reporting deserves support, and I’m happy to give it. 

Also, the headlines of some of your pieces are laugh-out-loud funny. This one, “Dan Forest, an Idiot, Thinks the Media Is Overhyping the Coronavirus to Sell Advertising,” just begs to be clicked on and read. Oh! And the article on the Raleigh Rickshaw owner made me almost cry with mirth. You cannot get better sentences than this: “INDY publisher Susan Harper could not be reached for comment, as she was busy lighting hundred-dollar bills on fire.”

Top marks, INDY. Well done.

PS: I am also a subscriber to the Raleigh News & Observer, The Washington Post, and The New York Times. You guys are right up there with the best of the best. 

I joined because the morning newsletters showed up in my inbox right around the time when there was a lot of news—presidential nominee and coronavirus. I love that it’s factual but witty and absolutely understands how beleaguering all of this can be. I could spare a few dollars a month to support that—and did so as soon as I saw the first ask. I’m really glad you guys asked, otherwise I’d never have known there was a need. 

I value INDY Week‘s take on a lot of things. They confirm some things I think I know, they challenge my beliefs on other things, and they generally stretch my mind to understand and appreciate the larger community I live in. It’s worth supporting friends like that.

1) Because of the people—in particular, because of the arts-beat reporters whose coverage is vital to a thriving arts ecosystem. 2) Because of the history of the Triangle contained within those papers. Without the INDY, who will record the future history of the area?

I became an INDY fan back in the Hal Crowther days and have been a regular reader ever since. I enjoy the local insight that I can’t find other places. And by god, if I can give the N&O some $800+ dollars a year to land in my driveway (almost) every day, I darn sure can cough up something for the Independent! Keep up the great work, my friends!

I value the thorough analysis of both local and national news. So much work goes into each day’s Primer, and I learn so much!

I joined the Press Club recently because you do a great job of covering local issues, unearthing skullduggery, and knocking bad guys unceremoniously on the head. I like your style, and I like hearing the truth.

I’ve been trying to pull away from the news in general during this time to not get overwhelmed. I love Primer, as it provides me with updates on both local and national news. I wanted to make sure it stuck around, so I decided to become a member of the Press Club. Thank you for keeping me informed and not terrified! 

I joined because I believe in the power of local journalism. I hope you’re doing well despite the current situation. 

I joined because I think it is imperative to have independent, thoughtful, and local journalism. Thank you!

Supporting local journalism. Y’all kill it on political reporting.

I joined because Primer is incredible (although I understand it’s a total burden and is mammoth these days). It’s unique, digestible, and I always feel like I’m walking away with new insight/info. INDY Week is incredible all around, but Primer is something else. 

The INDY is the best source of news for local government and community issues, and it can’t go away.

We joined the Indy Press Club because it is vital for someone to be watching and reporting on local governments and organizations. The Herald-Sun/News & Observer seems to have lost the critical mass to do much local investigation or detailed reporting, or what they have is focused on the state level. That’s OK. But someone needs to keep an eye on the city councils and county commissions, etc. That’s what I like about the INDY

In about 2005-ish, when I was initially contemplating relocating from Pennsylvania to a warmer climate with solid graduate school and job prospects, my preconceived notions about “The South” gave me pause. It was when I was here on business travel that I picked up a copy of what was then the Independent Weekly—and came to realize that progressive thinkers could, in fact, live and thrive in the Triangle. I joined the INDY Press Club because this publication gave me the push I needed to make what has proven to be a very positive personal and professional move, and helped contextualize my experiences as I transitioned to my new life in Raleigh.

I joined because independent journalism is important.  Also, the INDY has been a part of my life for a long time, and I don’t want it to disappear.

First moved to the Triangle (specifically,  Durham) about 30 years ago, and have loved the INDY for almost as long. For free! So when you make an appeal, it seems not too much to ask. Also, I sincerely appreciate print journalism as opposed to broadcast journalism. And really appreciate the voting guides. They help me to vote early and vote often.  

I generally agree with the viewpoint of the paper, and I like the food and arts sections. Mostly Primer. With what’s happening in the newspaper business, we need someone local for things around the Triangle, and having the N&O get more watered down since I’ve moved down, I wanted to support the INDY.

I joined because I find your commentary on the news both eye-opening, refreshingly honest, and even personal at times, something I savor when I can no longer stand the spin of what comes out of the mouths of conservative pundits and GOP politicians who are using this pandemic to attract donors, win points, and profit while real people are dying every day. But we can’t just turn off the news and ignore it all. We need dedicated journalists and citizens everywhere to stand up and demonstrate what real strength there is in knowing and believing in the truth. Thank you for your tireless commitment to doing just that!

Good reporting of local government (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill) is extremely important, for there are few other sources, particularly as the N&O/Herald-Sun become increasingly thin and are dropping much coverage of local government. The INDY also is now covering lifestyle and the arts better than the local papers. I only wish I could get it in the mail, but I assume you have decided that mail subscriptions cost more than they earn. [Ed. note: Yep.] Strong investigative journalism and local reporting are critical to being an informed voter and thus to our democracy.

I joined the INDY Press Club because I enjoy reading your commentaries, news briefs, and entertainment calendars. I strongly disagreed with your candidate choices in our most recent city of Raleigh election—thought you had been bought out by the pro-developers who already control many or most of our land-use decisions. I do like the way you take critical feedback by not hiding or hitting back. That takes some courage and confidence.

I just recently joined because of the daily effort being made by the editor with Primer, which I appreciate. Plus because of the loss of ad revenue in the print edition (which is the main edition I read during normal, pre-COVID days, and to which I hope will be able to return).

I joined INDY Press Club because I feel the need to support independent journalism in this time of ongoing attacks on the free press by Trump and his followers. Since I moved here in 2012, the INDY has helped me understand and become active in Durham and North Carolina politics. It has also been a valuable resource for finding community activities, services, local businesses, and restaurants. Both the INDY and The News & Observer play an essential role in our Durham community. It would be a tremendous loss to not have them around. 

Since our very first date, my now-husband and I have sat down at Boulted Bread each week with a croissant and a copy of the INDY. We work on the crossword first, then flip through and circle shows we want to check out. Then we take the issue home and spend the rest of the week reading the articles and feeling a little more connected to our adopted city of Raleigh. We rarely finish the crossword, and we’ve only made it to a handful of shows. But nothing can beat the feeling of living in a city with enough spunk to maintain an independent newspaper. 

Why? Many reasons. I grew up reading the Independent. I vividly remember our family’s weekly trips to Foster’s Market where I could grab a copy of the latest issue when I was a child. As the world has changed, we’ve seen massive shifts in the way media, especially print media, have had to operate to survive. It’s important as media outlets disappear or get gobbled up by larger conglomerates, that we still have free and independent sources that are not beholden to others and are free to speak the truth. Keep up the good work!

Because local journalism is dying, and y’all are what little remains of the Fourth Estate in the Triangle. The N&O is in such bad shape, it’s truly disturbing. In a better world, you’d both have your shit together, but at least I feel like I can help keep the INDY alive. Thanks for caring and working hard!

Now more than ever before, I feel the need for help to make sense of what is going on in our world. The thoughtful and rational reporting and analysis of local, state, and national issues that I find in the INDY help me to stay informed of what is happening and also feel that I am not alone in my anger, frustration, and concern. I also value the INDY’s coverage of the local and state elections and its picks of candidates.

I joined because I want you to be able to continue your political coverage and investigative reporting, especially this year.

Because local journalism is endangered, and if I don’t support it, I might lose it.

Because [publisher] Susan Harper is a very cool woman… [Ed. note: We agree, and not just because she signs the paychecks.]

To support local journalism. I read the INDY fairly regularly in print and Primer almost every day. I want to support local journalism through this time when the entire financial model of the newspaper and journalism industry has been upended by the internet.

To keep independent journalism alive in the Triangle. Plus reviews of art and music. I would like for you to go back to having a movie page, however. 

Because I enjoy reading Primer. It gives me good info on local, state, and national politics that I need to read about. And no sifting through the fluffy news from the N&O and WRAL to get to it. 

I believe in supporting good journalism, and I like the INDY! The business model for the press is changing. A direct contribution for a free paper is the right thing to do.

Why do I support the INDY? I’ve been a reader for years, and the viewpoint and fair journalism it gives me is something I value. It also provides a view that is fun, playful, and creative. 

My answer is really a combination of (1) why I joined the INDY Press Club and (2) why I think is it important to be a member of the INDY Press Club.

(1) I followed Primer soon after it began. I loved it—it was the highlight of my day. And I recognized even then that it required a great deal of time, effort, and other resources to produce on a quasi-daily basis. I was disappointed when Jeff had to put Primer on hiatus but was delighted when he later announced it would resume! In (or soon after) that announcement, I believe Jeff also described the opportunity to support the INDY by becoming an INDY Press Club member. He explaining how membership money would help support the INDY but wasn’t pushy/too salesman-y about it. That was the moment I decided to join. I wanted to support the machine that put out something I valued and enjoyed. I like NPR, and I like other news outlets, but I was/am not a sustainer or subscribing member. Jeff’s personal, honest, but not over-the-top email made me, for the first time, come to the conclusion that I couldn’t not support my go-to media/news outlet.

(2) Why do I think it’s important to be a member of the INDY Press Club, and why do I plan to keep donating over time? I believe in the spirit and purpose of the INDY and have for just over a decade. I would look forward to reading about local music/arts events when I was a “cool” UNC undergrad (and if I’m being honest, when I thought I was a “cool” UNC graduate student). I look to the INDY for news about my community, for events and local artists/restaurants/bars/culture/initiatives/problems/etc. in the community I’ve made my home, and for political guidance during local/national elections. I value the INDY’s commitment to free journalism, and I figured it was actually time to put a spendable dollar amount on that emotional value. So there you have it! 

Why did we join the Press Club? Because we like your snappy, irreverent take on the news. We think it’s important to have a local news source and, although we’re no longer local, we love hearing what’s going on in the Triangle.

I joined your Press Club because the INDY is the best aggregator of information and supporter of local culture.

I’ve been reading the INDY since the very beginning. In fact, I remember meetings in people’s houses to talk about the possibilities that were then just a gleam in Steve Schewel’s eye. I believe fervently in the value of a vigorous free press and find myself, in the midst of this current crisis, treasuring and relying on local institutions more than ever.

We moved to Durham almost three years ago. When we were out about town, I would see stacks of these free newspaper-looking things. Eventually, I picked one up, and to my surprise, it was full of actual journalism! Full of interesting culture pieces and political goings-on! Not only that, it was all about my new home and what was going on around me. I’d never seen a free paper with anything other than coupons inside of it. The fact that the Triangle has INDY Week is one of my favorite things about living here, and something I brag all the time. So, when the opportunity to help support the INDY through the Press Club came about, we had to chip in to support it. 

I read the INDY, and it’s truly a great source of local information. Proud to have helped out.

I like your point of view and writing style. You are thorough, yet brief.

To support essential local journalism.

We joined the INDY Press Club because we value the local journalism offered at the INDY and read the paper weekly. Because of this, when the Press Club started, we thought it was a resource we use, so supporting you was a no-brainer. Kind of like supporting NPR or other community resources we use.

Supporting local journalism is more important than ever—I just moved to the Triangle and wanted to be more informed about local news. 

A couple of reasons. First, I’ve always enjoyed the INDY. Having adopted a hermit lifestyle long before it became coronavirus-chic, I did not have a chance to pick up a copy very often. When I did, I read it cover-to-cover. As journalism has increasingly moved online, I found the INDY coverage about the matters of greatest interest to me was, in fact, some of the best being written. Stuff like the HB 2 idiocy and the other dark maneuvering of the Republican supermajority in NCGA. Silent Sam. The “hard journalism” is the reason I joined. But the arts, food, music, and local events have always been the backbone of the INDY

The other big reason is, simply, money. Living in the Triangle for over 40 years, there’s so much hyperbole and fanaticism associated with the athletic teams of the local institutions of higher learning. One night, I was coming home from a R.E.M. show at Walnut Creek. Making the left onto I-40, I clipped the median island and the sawed-off remnants of a signpost. Limped to the next exit with a flat tire. After midnight, Raleigh south side, nope, I’ve got AAA. When the tow truck operator arrived on the scene, his first impression of me was the fact I had three university stickers in the back window: State, Carolina, and Duke. The first words out of his mouth: “A bit conflicted, are we?”

But that’s it, isn’t it? Every dime spent is in support of whatever business or industry that your new product is a part of. If it’s automotive decals, championship t-shirts, or “Wash Your Horns” charity Bulls gear, the money is consciously going somewhere.

I chose the INDY. The Fourth Estate is under attack. It’s like the line about baseball labor relations—“Millionaires vs. billionaires”—and journalism is that as well as still having to appeal to the average person on the street. 

Targeted Consumerism. Supporting Local Journalism. 

Besides, what are you wrapping your fish in these days?

Keep it free. Keep it INDY. Join the INDY Press Club today.