Carolina Public Press recently became the first online nonprofit news service in Western North Carolina to be admitted into membership in the North Carolina Press Association.

“An incisive, beautifully written web-based publication like this is exactly why NCPA created our new online membership just a year ago,” said the association’s executive director Beth Grace. “Good journalism takes many forms, and this sort of partnership helps NCPA support the highest standards of good reporting and paves the way for the reading public to access great journalism – wherever it appears.”

The North Carolina Press Association is a 195-member newspaper advocacy organization for North Carolina newspapers.  Carolina Public Press, which was launched in March 2011, has been recognized by media organizations statewide for its in-depth and investigative reporting about Western North Carolina.

Since its launch, the news site, which covers the 18 westernmost counties of the state, has posted more than 600 news stories and investigative reports, photo essays, data, public records. Its reporting has been shared with some of the state’s top local, regional and statewide media organizations, including The Charlotte Observer, Mountain Xpress, WLOS-TV, WCQS and many others.

“We believe that public-interest reporting is critical to an informed, engaged electorate and to ensuring government accountability,” said Angie Newsome, the site’s executive director and editor.

The site also focuses on obtaining government records. Recently, Carolina Public Press formed an Asheville-area media coalition to sue the city of Asheville and the Buncombe Count District Attorney’s Office for the release of the police department’s evidence-room audit. It also holds trainings for journalists, students, and citizens on gaining access to public records.

Like many other nonprofit organizations, the news site is largely funded through tax-deductible private contributions and foundation. It does not accept traditional advertising or government funding.

“We appreciate that the N.C. Press Association recognizes the value and importance of our news and organization,” said Allen Shaklan, president of the Carolina Public Press board of directors. “We look forward to continuing to build our network with the association’s membership and continuing to show that in-depth, investigative reporting is a vital service to the citizens of Western North Carolina.”