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Groups Call for Open Records in State Redistricting Case

July 10, 2012

RALEIGH, N.C. - The State Supreme Court today will hear arguments to unseal research commissioned by two state lawmakers regarding North Carolina's redistricting issue. Several groups, including the North Carolina Public Broadcasting Association and the state Press Association, are supporting the request to make the information accessible to both sides, which would cost $200,000 in public funding.

Hugh Stevens is on the board of the Open Government Coalition, which is filing amicus briefs on behalf of public-interest organizations and individual citizens.

"They were paid for by you, me, and every other taxpayer, so that certainly is a very important factor in why this information should be available to the public."

State Senator Bob Rucho, representing Mecklenberg County, and State Representative David Lewis of Harnett County commissioned the work done by a private law firm.

The issue of North Carolina's redistricting began last year after the 2010 Census. The current district lines will stand for the 2012 election, but the two separate lawsuits challenging them are ongoing and could affect the district lines for the 2014 election.

"It often affects the outcomes of elections even before candidates file as candidates or people go to the polls and vote."

A recent report released by the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication recommended North Carolina consider a state version of C-SPAN because of the lack of reporters assigned to cover state political issues, particularly as media outlets are assigning those reporters to cover the November election and upcoming Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - NC