A New Approach to Covering News in a Time of Rapid Change

Join your many neighbors who have discovered Clay News & Views a digital publication that brings you behind the scenes of Clay County’s commercial and political world.

No fluff, no pop-up ads, no time-wasting — just smart insight delivered by local journalists. Their writing helps fill the vacuum created by the retreat of the Times-Union and slow death of local print publications.

Clay County has become a news desert. Research shows that such places are susceptible to a rise in corporate and goverment corruption and a drop in voter participation.

In the absence of meaningful local reporting, residents of news deserts turn their attention to national news outlets, which tend to divide us into opposing political camps. What does partisanship have to do with real estate development issues, problems at local schools or bureaucratic malpractice?

By covering local news we can shine a light on what works and what doesn’t, what’s good, what’s bad or just plain ugly, unfiltered through a red or blue lens. We work for the residents of Clay County. We are not beholden to the politically powerful, whether they are in business, politics or both, as often is the case.

Here’s how Clay News & Views works: We are primarily an e-newsletter whose stories are also published to a website. The newsletter goes to the email address of anyone who subscribes. Subscriptions are free, and there are no ads to distract you. We don’t publish on a set schedule, but whenever we have a story ready to go.


The Clay News & Views podcast, formerly the Clay County Beacon podcast, is the first and only podcast focused solely on the people, news, and events in Clay County, Florida. Since 2020, the podcast has featured candidate interviews, election analysis, and conversations with prominent figures across Clay County.

Now part of Clay News and Views, season three of the podcast will debut in the fall of 2023, featuring the same great Clay County focused content listeners have come to know and love.


Once a month, we will publish an illustrated Clay County history story written by the county’s archivist.


Besides the newsletter and website, Clay News & Views has a public Facebook Page, which is an aggregation of links to news stories about Clay Clay (including our own) or about issues important to Clay County. It is updated continually.


  • Our focus is on publishing timely, informative and often entertaining news that effects Clay County people.

  • We strive for fairness and accuracy and will correct any known error.

  • The content reflects the independent editorial judgement of Clay News & Views.

The Gang of Four

Susan Clark Armstrong, Josh Allen, Peter Swanson and Michael Michel.

Susan Clark Armstrong was born in a small town in Louisiana. She spent her formative years on a farm entrusted with the all-important task of feeding the pigs, chickens, horses and any animal that might have survived hunting season and appeared in the barnyard.  She also gathered the eggs and kept the foxes out of the henhouse…a prelude to her avocation later in life.

She attended Northeast Louisiana University and the University of Maine.  She is a former columnist for the Florida Times Union and Investigative Reporter for Folio Weekly. She also writes for the Florida Trident at the Florida Center for Government accountability and is a right-winged, gun-toting conservative Catholic.

Josh Allen is a long-time Clay County resident and graduate of Middleburg High School. He has been reporting and offering commentary on local news since 2018. Motivated to highlight information and stories ignored by traditional media, Josh launched the Clay County Beacon website and podcast.

Via the Beacon, Josh Allen interviewed dozens of candidates running for political office in Clay County. Josh also covers the Southern Baptist Convention for The Baptist Tribune and the Jacksonville Jaguars as part of the Fan Battle Sports podcast network.

Peter Swanson is a career newspaper reporter and editor, who covered federal and state courts. Swanson was former editor of the statewide New Hampshire Sunday News. He went on to write for several boating magazines, including Yachting and Soundings. He was editor-in-chief of Passagemaker, a magazine devoted to the recreational trawler yacht niche. Nowadays, he publishes a boating newsletter called Loose Cannon. He has been a resident of Green Cove Springs since 2002.

Mike Michel retired in 2019 after a 37-year U.S. Navy career as a naval aviator and submariner. Michel commanded an aviation squadron and a major overseas naval installation. His last tour in the navy he was the director of the U.S Naval Academy Leadership, Ethics, and Law Department, responsible for the leadership instruction and character development of 4,500 students.

In 2021, he joined a non-profit organization called Investing in Kids as a college success coach. The organization provides state funded and donor funded college scholarships and high school mentoring to first generation American and first generation college candidates. He is a graduate of the U.S Naval Academy with a BS in Oceanography and he also has an MBA from Jacksonville University and a MA from the Air Force Command and Staff College.

Some of our most popular original articles from 2022 included:

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Covering important news stories in Clay County: People, politics, government, history and humor.


Covering important news stories in Clay County, Florida.
Publisher of the Baptist Tribune and Clay County Beacon. Clay News and Views contributor.
Retired Naval Aviator, Submariner, Ship Driver. Currently part-time College Success Coach for 501(c)3 St. John’s County Take Stock in Children Program & amateur writer, golfer, fisherman. Live and love everything NE Florida outdoors.