Legal
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NCPA has partnered with Stephens Martin Vaughn & Tadych, PLLC, a firm known and respected for its work on media and First Amendment law, to provide our legal hotline. Valued at $350 per … more
When reporters call the Legal Hotline, I often talk through what amounts to a public records flowchart in analyzing their questions. For a couple years, I’ve wanted to put that analysis into an actual flowchart, and if I were better at Word or Power Point, that would be my column for this month. Instead, I will outline – with words instead of boxes and circles -- the questions I ask to determine whether a particular document (or portion of a document) is a public record. more
This term the United States Supreme Court had its first “Facebook case” but issued a ruling that dodged both the technology/social media aspects of the case and the First Amendment. If you are like me, you may get quizzed at cocktail parties about how the First Amendment could possibly protect such monstrous speech, but given their ruling on evidentiary grounds, the Court found “it is not necessary to consider any First Amendment issues.” Therefore, this case is as important for what it does not say as what it does. more
Please see the attached overview on NC media law prepared for NCPA by Stevens Martin Vaughn & Tadych, PLLC more
“My editor is the biggest moron this side of the Mississippi!” “My coworker sleeps through the afternoon after tying one on at lunch almost every Friday.” “My paper is about to get sold to one of those big chain newspapers.” “Hubby and I are so excited that we found out today we’re going to have a baby!” more
Please contact your senate delegation to oppose this bill as amended. Key Points: - HB 205 as amended by in the Senate Commerce Committee would for the first time require NC newspaper … more
A state lawmaker’s personal grudge against the newspaper industry could end up hurting workers and delaying delivery for early risers. Sen. Trudy Wade, R-Guilford, filed a March 28 bill that … more
In the last few weeks, it seems that every time I read or hear the news, police body cams are at the forefront. Even as a bill was being introduced in the General Assembly, and the North Charleston case was making headlines, I got calls on the Hotline asking whether the video from “body cams” and “dash cams” are public record. On Sunshine Day, a panel comprised of NCPA General Counsel Emeritus Hugh Stevens, Frayda Bluestein of the UNC School of Government and Christopher Brook of the ACLU discussed the merits of using body cameras and whether the video they capture is a public record. As of now, the state of the law is unsettled, with different judges reaching different conclusions. more
School’s out! I am fresh off teaching media law at the UNC School of Media and Journalism over the 2017-2018 academic year. I loved it and loved my students! I am happy, though, to now have time to … more
The North Carolina Press Association will continue to fight to ensure access to public notices for all citizens, not just those with a computer and Internet connection. The statistics clearly show … more
Did you know that starting July 1, public agencies can decline to give you hard copy records that are posted online? Or that UNC recently refused to release emails from a faculty member, claiming … more
It's that time again already. The General Assembly opened  its biennial "long session" on January 11. A few, new lieutenants in the leadership ranks remind us that some of the old guard … more
Looking for a sample letter asking for camera access to court hearings? Look no further.  NCPA General Counsel Amanda Martin of SMVT has prepared the following letter for members to … more
You may be familiar with the provision of the Public Records Law that says you get to ask for public records in whatever format you want, so long as they can be provided that … more
FINDING COMMON GROUND Some of you remember Governor Cooper before he was governor - even before he was attorney general - back when he was Senator Cooper.  In 1995, then Sen. Cooper was … more
The High Country PIO Network is sponsoring a Media Summit on August 1. To strengthen relationships with local and regional media outlets, the Network has opened registration to the event to members … more
CAN WE TALK? Getting Information from Sources Who May Be Breaking the Law If asked whether a reporter faces liability for asking a source to provide information that legally is secret, … more
A PAIR OF NORTH CAROLINA sheriff’s offices, in Ashe and Union counties, have a couple things in common. Each is on the receiving end of open records requests from an investigative TV reporter … more
Are you a reporter having trouble getting records from your local government, school board or the United Way? Are you a private citizen interested to know how you can keep track of the latest zoning … more
Dealing with non-employees and non-employee content We all know that there is a fair amount of red tape that comes with having employees. You have to supervise and mentor them. They … more
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