This past week, coinciding with the first UNC vs. Duke men's basketball game, the two school’s respective newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel and The (Duke) Chronicle decided to host a competition of their own. The schools participated in a fundraising challenge, and The Daily Tar Heel emerged victorious (as we did in the basketball game, too), raising $29,892.54. The total amount raised between both schools was almost $55,000.
To the Editorial Board, it showed two things. One, that the parents of the newspaper’s staffers must love them a lot. Two, that readers genuinely do value local journalism. No one covers major UNC sports wins like The Daily Tar Heel, and it shows, because the community donated almost $30,000 so we can continue to do so. The paper after the big game was gone from the newsstands by 9:30 a.m. We saw its front page hung up on the walls of so many South Campus dorm rooms.
The morale boost, however, was cut short quickly when the Editorial Board learned of the McClatchy buyouts, the publishing company that owns papers like The (Raleigh) News & Observer, The (Durham) Herald-Sun and The Charlotte Observer. Multiple journalists took the buyout between The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun, Chapel Hill’s closest regional papers.
It’s a hard time to be a journalist. It’s a hard time for us, the Editorial Board members, the majority of whom are in the UNC School of Media and Journalism, watching seasoned reporters get laid-off before we even have the opportunity to get a foot in the door. And it’s hardest for the employees who are now laid-off.
One of the buyouts that stung the most was Jane Stancill, the education reporter at The News & Observer. In a region like the Triangle area, dominated by three major research universities, reporting like this is essential to the community. The Board has often looked to her reporting when writing editorials about the University and the administration.