NMWE is a unique initiative addressing opportunity, recruitment and retention for women in journalism. It fosters and spotlights the creativity, ingenuity and entrepreneurial abilities of women in media.
The awards program ended in 2013 following six years of generous support from the McCormick Foundation. We are currently seeking other funding sources.
Angie Newsome Angie Newsome is a North Carolina native with a master’s degree in journalism from UNC-Chapel Hill. She is an award-winning reporter who spent nearly four years at the Asheville Citizen-Times, where she led newsroom initiatives and served as the Sunday Editor.
Carolina Public Press is the North Carolina’s first online-only nonprofit news site dedicated to in-depth, instigative and independent journalism. Through a network of content-sharing, social media, newsletters and events, Newsome and her team hope to bring light to a region of western North Carolina where news is often overlooked due to newsroom layoffs and downsizing.
The 18 westernmost counties North Carolina had no local news radio, paper, or even website to turn to until Carolina Public Press launched. Now, the non-profit news site is reporting on stories that matter from child poverty to local elections. But Carolina Public Press is not just sharing investigations with their audience. The news outlet shares stories with public broadcasters accross the state, making quality, local journalism avaliable to more and more Carolinians. Read about what Carolina Public Press is accomplishing in the J-Lab report News Chops: Beefing up the Journalism in Local Public Broadcasting.
It’s been a standout year for Carolina Public Press, as we remain the only news source in Western North Carolina (WNC) devoted to providing in-depth, investigative journalism and bringing free regional news to 18 counties.
We also became the first online nonprofit news organization in WNC to be admitted to the North Carolina Press Association. We spent a part of the year building our infrastructure. We formed our first Board of Directors and applied for nonprofit status from the Internal Revenue Service.
However, some of our most fruitful work lies in the year’s exceptional reporting efforts that appeared in 375 published reports.
Carolina Public Press spearheaded a media coalition to make a legal push for the release of an audit record of the evidence room at the Asheville Police Department, eventually filing a suit with the city of Asheville and Buncombe County District Attorney in Superior Court. Still in progress, the push forced an auditing representative to make a public presentation disclosing the “vast disarray” of the room and the admittance of a former evidence room manager to stealing thousands of dollars worth of drugs.
In addition, we’ve furthered efforts to promote investigative journalism in rural North Carolina, including coverage of quality threats on the French Broad River, prevalence of food deserts and efforts to preserve native Cherokee culture in the region.
In terms of community outreach, we launched a highly successful Full Disclosure workshops aimed at training civic leaders, journalists, students and local residents on how to access public information at both the state and federal level. Our latest workshop series spanned three days and attracted more than 100 people.
With these accomplishments at our backs, Carolina Public Press is focusing on the future. Ideally, we’d like to grow our readership. We counted nearly 73,000 unique visiitors and nearly 136,000 page views in our first year. We also want to grow our financial resources so we can add staff. We raised about $65,000 from grants and donors in the first year. However, we're inundated with requests and suggestions for reporting and are ambitiously planning to meet the needs and demands for more investigative reporting in our region.
We at Carolina Public Press would like to thank everyone at J-Lab and the McCormick Foundation associated with the New Media Women Entrepreneur Award. So much has transpired since we received the honor of being NMWE grantees in April 2012.
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.
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.
The following press release originally appeared on the Carolina Pubic Press site on June 25, 2012.
ASHEVILLE — Five Western North Carolina news organizations filed a lawsuit today calling on the city of Asheville and the Buncombe County district attorney’s office to release an audit of the Asheville Police Department’s evidence room.
Filed by the Asheville Citizen-Times, Carolina Public Press, Mountain Xpress, WCQS and WLOS in Buncombe County Superior Court, the lawsuit argues that, under North Carolina open records law, the audit, produced by a private contractor hired by the city of Asheville, is a public record.
“The issue represents a matter of substantial public importance because it involves not only the conduct and procedures of the Asheville Police Department, but also impacts the integrity of the cases investigated by the police department,” the complaint states. View the complaint in its entirety below.
I’m at my desk, checking my growing To-Do list for the day.
Here in my home office, I’m surrounded by stacks of papers, Post-It notes, a calculator, a single clothes pin (what?), an AP Stylebook, pens, scratched-out notes from Tuesday’s election results, lists for the interns, a map of Western North Carolina, drawings and paintings by my oldest daughter and the new IRE Journal. I have, oh, about 30 tabs open in my browser. Thousands of e-mails jam my accounts; my RSS reader groans under the subscriptions.
It’s a cacophony, certainly.
But it’s thrilling, here at the “headquarters” of Carolina Public Press.
After years of dreaming about launching a media organization dedicated to in-depth, enterprise-level reporting and investigative journalism, here I am. With circles under the eyes, copious amounts of newly gray hair and a lightness of being to prove it.
Carolina Public Press launched on March 3, 2011, and it when it went live, I thought it would slip quietly into the stream of Web news and information available. I thought we’d have a tiny bit of time to tweak and fix, to rethink design and content. To get and be perfect.
That didn’t happen.
We became at 11 a.m. that day – the moment it went live – the only nonprofit media organization in 17 counties of western North Carolina to be passionately, obstinately, whole-heartedly devoted to journalism in the public interest, to in-depth, enterprise, investigative reporting.
We went for broke that day. Fifteen months later, we still are.