In honor of Sunshine Week and its one-year anniversary, the regional nonprofit news organization Carolina Public Press will present two public records workshops in Western North Carolina that offer essential tools for activists, citizens and journalists pursuing open government and access to information.
Called "Full Disclosure," the workshop will be held in two locations: from 1 to 3:30 p.m., March 15 at Western Carolina University and from 1:30 to 4 p.m., March 16 at UNC Asheville. The workshop will teach participants how to pry documents from local, state and federal agencies, introduce them to veterans from the front lines of freedom-of-information battles and review how to craft new and effective information requests.
"The public's access to information is essential to a working, vibrant democracy," said Angie Newsome, editor and founder of Carolina Public Press and www.carolinapublicpress.org, an online news site offering in-depth, investigative, independent news on the 17 westernmost counties of North Carolina. "This workshop will not only help people understand the laws, but also apply them with success. We'll also offer opportunities to publish the results, which will give the public even more access to important information."
Trainers include Charles Coble, attorney with Brooks Pierce, a leading N.C. media law firm, on the N.C. Public Records Law, its challenges, changes and application; Jon Elliston, freelancer and contributing reporter with Carolina Public Press, on the Freedom of Information Act, case studies, and where, when and how to find information; and Angie Newsome, Carolina Public Press editor, on putting the laws into practice, crafting a good request and getting those results published.
Western Carolina University’s Department of Communication and UNC Asheville’s Department of Mass Communication are co-hosting the workshops; both UNC Asheville and Mountain Xpress are session sponsors.
Seating is limited and tickets are required. Admission is free for UNC Asheville and Western Carolina University students and $20 for all others. Complete registration information can be found at www.carolinapublicpress.org/category/events.
ABOUT CAROLINA PUBLIC PRESS: Carolina Public Press is a nonprofit news organization offering in-depth, investigative, independent news on the overlooked and under-reported people, places and issues facing the 17 westernmost counties of North Carolina. CPP produces eye-opening, thought-provoking, change-making journalism and access to information at carolinapublicpress.org and through trainings, events and community conversations. Its high-quality reporting is shared by top media organizations throughout North Carolina, including The Charlotte Observer, WCQS, WLOS TV, Mountain Xpress and many others.
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