Public records workshop scheduled for Thursday

Western Carolina University’s Department of Communication will join Carolina Public Press in co-hosting “Full Disclosure,” a public records workshop, from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Thursday, March 15, in Room 144 of WCU’s Stillwell Building.

“The Freedom of Information Act is essential for journalists and democracy,” said Katerina Spasovska, assistant professor in WCU’s communication department. “Knowing how to file FOIA for a story is just another tool for good journalism. Many students either don’t know where to find the information or are timid to request it.”

The workshop will provide information on the existing laws and advice on drafting a request for information and publishing news stories from the data, Spasovska said.

Trainers will include Charles Coble, an attorney with Brooks Pierce, who will discuss the North Carolina Public Records Law and its challenges, changes and application; Jon Elliston, a contributing reporter with Carolina Public Press, who will examine the Freedom of Information Act and case studies, and talk about where, when and how to find information; and Angie Newsome, editor and founder of Carolina Public Press, who will discuss putting the laws into practice, crafting a good request and getting results published.

Seating for the workshop is limited and tickets are required. Admission is free for WCU students and $20 for all others. Reservations can be made by going to the Carolina Public Press website,, and clicking on the “Full Disclosure” news story link.

Carolina Public Press is a nonprofit online media project that offers in-depth, investigative and independent reporting on the overlooked and under-reported people, places and issues facing Western North Carolina, Spasovska said.

The workshop is being held during Sunshine Week, a national initiative held annually to promote dialogue on the importance of open government and freedom of information. The workshop at WCU is sponsored by Mountain Xpress.

For more information, contact Spasovska, at 828-227-2730 or