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A recent newsroom workshop prompts me to offer up a refresher on how to stay out of copyright trouble.  Imagine a member of your newspaper is working on a story about the end of summer and the … more
We frequently get calls to the hotline when law enforcement officials redact the names of witnesses, perpetrators, juveniles or victims in crime and incident reports. Journalists want to know – … more
If you make public records requests in North Carolina, you are undoubtedly familiar with N.C. Gen. Stat. § 132-6(a), which requires a public body to furnish responsive records “as promptly … more
If you’re a journalist who has ever sought police body camera or dashboard camera recordings, you probably used the forms provided by the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts … more
You may have heard the term “Section 230” thrown about recently. This section of the federal Communications Decency Act of 1996 has been around for more than 25 years, but it is getting … more
Public notices which promote the ‘Public’s Right to Know’ are once again under attack by county commissioners and certain county managers. In the recent weeks, N.C. Senator Mike … more
A bill making its way through the North Carolina Senate would remove public notices from newspapers serving Onslow County and Robeson County — including this newspaper, The Robesonian. A … more
WAKE COUNTY — A Democrat-backed proposal in the General Assembly would allow Wake County municipalities to publish public notices soley online. This would mark a shift from also placing the … more
Last month we wrote about best practices in framing your public records requests.  This month, we offer some specific language to put in your email or letter if you are responding to a public … more
Over the years, we have observed what works – and what doesn’t – when making public records requests.  We offer this collection of best practices for you to refine and … more
“History teaches that opaque decision-making destroys trust; recent historyinvolving police body cameras emphasizes this risk.”We end 2022 with these strong words from our own North … more
We often get questions on the hotline about obtaining security footage of newsworthy incidents that occur in or around K-12 schools or on school buses. Because these incidents almost inevitably … more
The climate surrounding officer-involved fatalities is, in a word, dynamic. Whether a shooting or shootout, deadly force incident to an arrest or the service of a warrant, or a high-speed chase … more
Back on March 10, 2020, Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency in North Carolina “to coordinate response and protective actions to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” and with … more
The N.C. Court of Appeals handed down some very good news for journalists this month. The case arose after the arrest of Wesley Walker for an assault. WTVD’s Ed Crump emailed the Wake County … more
My long-time client, mentor and friend Frank Daniels Jr. died on June 30. He was 90 years old. For 20 of the 26 years he served as publisher of The News & Observer, I was privileged to defend the … more
In January of this year, the Enhance Local Government Transparency Act (N.C. Senate Bill 473) made some important changes to our conflict-of-interest laws for public officials. Most notably, the bill … more
We all know that public records are the property of the people and that, generally speaking, public agencies can only charge you the costs of actual duplication – the cost of the paper, the ink … more
We all know that North Carolina law requires public bodies to follow the open meetings law, which essentially means three things: publishing notice, allowing public access and keeping minutes.  … more
The NC Public Records Law applies to public business documents made or received by a public agency or official.  G.S. § 132-1(a).  It doesn’t matter if they exist on an … more
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