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A native of North Carolina, Ashley Fox joined Stevens Martin Vaughn & Tadych PLLC as an associate attorney in June 2024. Immediately prior to joining SMVT, Ashley was a legal fellow at the … more
The First Amendment provides access to many – if not most – court proceedings and judicial records. This article is not intended to analyze the jurisprudence confirming the rights of … more
As 2023 fades into 2024, I can’t help think about New Year’s resolutions.  How many times per week do I think I can get to the gym?  Shouldn’t I throw out all that … more
More and more, non-profits are performing governmental functions. Be they volunteer fire departments, public housing authorities, tourism or economic development authorities, hospital authorities, … more
Had you sent an email to the NC Press Legal Hotline ( ) inquiring about the applicability of the attorney-client privilege to public documents under the public records law prior … more
The  Supreme Court  on Monday rejected North Carolina’s appeal in a dispute with animal rights groups over a law aimed at preventing undercover employees at farms and other workplaces … more
A provision in North Carolina’s new budget that exempts lawmakers from state public records laws has drawn widespread criticism from open government advocates and Pitt County Democrats, but the … more
State Treasurer Dale Folwell said Tuesday state lawmakers should undo a provision in the state budget that exempts them from the public records law to provide the same transparency and accountability … more
Nashville police Chief John Winstead and Nashville Human Resources Director Matt Joyner late last month were suspended indefinitely with pay, Town Manager Randy Lansing said Friday afternoon. … more
North Carolina’s appellate courts have been relatively active in the open government and libel space in recent months.  The open government outcomes have been favorable, but in an odd move … more
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
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