Legal
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Reporters covering government in the last two months know public bodies have changed their way of doing business. Members of the press were granted essential worker status, but that didn’t mean … more
     The Washington Post reports Capitol Hill is paralyzed over a failure to agree on a temporary remote Congressional hearing and voting bill.  Yet as Congress grapples … more
  Continuing on the theme of government transparency and how you get the information you need to cover the developing COVID-19 crisis, I have outlined here some principles to … more
As the toll of the coronavirus rises daily, we are getting calls about what to do if you cannot put out your print newspaper.  That might happen either because your advertising drops to the … more
I want to begin with my gratitude for the vital and hard work that you all have been doing to report on the coronavirus crisis.  Personally, I check five or six news websites about every hour to … more
Have you gotten a letter from someone asking you to take down an old story because the person has gotten their record expunged?  Or maybe a lawyer has written and cited G.S. § 15A-152, a … more
The 2019 'long' session of the General Assembly  -- the longest session in the past century -- ended with several special sessions devoted primarily to budget issues and saw the General Assembly … more
Question: A newspaper received notice of an emergency meeting of a college board of trustees with attorneys. The board has a track record of going into closed session to discuss financial issues, … 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
MAKING SENSE OF WHAT LOOKS LIKE NONSENSE Having trouble making sense of the constitutional amendments that will appear on the ballot this November? I am, and I’m a lawyer! As … 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
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
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY Some of the most common questions we get when we do workshops and on the Hotline relate to the dangers of publishing information on the internet and social media and … more
Reporting on child fatalities is difficult. It presents a collision between the need for a thorough and orderly investigation against intense public concern and, sometimes, outrage. Medical records … more
DEFAMATION North Carolina’s libel law is fairly standard. The most significant defense against libel claims for newspapers is the fair report privilege. This privilege applies to … more
We’ve been getting lots of questions about political advertising, thus this interim FFR. There are seven main things newspapers* need to know/do about political advertising. · You … more
FFR received an inquiry about the specifics of the statement in last week’s post that “The law is very narrow with regard to what personnel information is public. However, almost all … more
Please see the attached guide as a reference to frequent questions on media law and reporting in North Carolina. If you still have questions contact the NCPA legal hotline (919) 833-3833 or NCPA … more
COURT ORDERS RELEASE OF POLICE VIDEO If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video must be worth a million. Until a year ago, though, the law with regard to law enforcement videos was … more
“Personal Email” as Public Records Gmail. Yahoo! AOL. Do these sound like official email accounts for the conduct of public business? They can be. The NC Public Records Law … more
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