By John Hood 

Good self-government requires local news


RALEIGH — Oh, boy, did I screw up my first attempt at covering a town council meeting.

It was 1986 and I was spending the summer interning at a weekly newspaper in Nash County called the Spring Hope Enterprise. I had taken newswriting and reporting classes at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s journalism school and served as managing editor of my high-school newspaper. But real-world experience was what I needed.

The editor of the Enterprise, Ken Ripley, immediately assigned me to cover a town council meeting. I came, I saw, I thought I conquered. While I got the gist of t...

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