Carolina Public Press has had major accomplishments in the areas of content, partnerships and organizational development in the last few months. Here are some I’d like to share:
Investigations and content creation:
- We published our 500th and 501st posts at carolinapublicpress.org, which were in-depth reporting and photos exploring how a regional charitable foundation has helped shape the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians and surrounding counties’ cultural preservation, economic development and environmental efforts.
- We’ve exceeded our content-creation goals of three original reporting pieces (written, photos, multimedia, research and public records, analysis and resources), to average somewhere closer to five pieces a week.
- We had our highest traffic to date in the month of June, at more than 9,500 visits and nearly 8,000 unique visitors, with page views at more than 12,400.
- Our editors have appeared on TV twice and radio more than six times just in June to discuss our investigative reporting and public records expertise.
- We launched a special investigative reporting project on a public-records issue dealing with the region’s largest police department and a taxpayer-funded audit of missing weapons, drugs and money in the department’s evidence room. Missing evidence has already led to the early release of suspects and the pleading down of sentences for those convicted of crimes. We are leading local reporting efforts on this issue, with our editors being called on by other media outlets and organizations across the region and state to discuss the issue.
Organizational development and building partnerships:
- We formed a coalition of media organizations to file a lawsuit to gain access to a police-department audit. We organized and recruited partners in the effort, which include a daily newspaper, a weekly alternative publication, a public radio station and a TV station. We secured attorneys and reviewed and helped shape the complaint.
- We named an Investigations and Open Government Editor, Jon Elliston, who is tasked with building our investigative reporting and public-records gathering efforts.
- We’ve begun research and work toward applying for our own 501(c)3 nonprofit status, including editing our mission statement.
- We’ve begun work to launch a major-donor campaign in the fall and had an encouraging meeting with our major foundation supporter, which has encouraged us to submit another two-year application for operational support of Carolina Public Press.
- We’ve successfully recruited, trained and welcomed two summer reporting interns. They are seniors from UNC-Chapel Hill and Appalachian State University and are producing enterprise-level reporting on the environmental and jobs and the economy beats.