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Legal
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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
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
During the legislative session, public notices are at the top of our watch list. This time of year also generates a lot of questions on what exactly is public notice, where and when they must publish … more
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