N.C. Policy Watch reporters blocked from McCrory press events (updated)

Education reporter Lindsay Wagner was kicked out of a North Carolina Business Committee for Education (NCBCE) annual meeting today, a press event listed on McCrory’s public schedule that was sent out to media outlets, including N.C. Policy Watch.

McCrory-public-schedule-6-25-2015

When pressed for an explanation, a representative who appears to be from NCBCE — which operates under the Office of the Governor — explicitly said that no one from N.C. Policy Watch was “invited” to this press event.

Wagner was at the PNC Arena to cover the governor’s comments to NCBCE during this event.

Wagner had already sat down when a representative approached her with questions about her “credentials.” After hushed discussions among NCBCE representatives, Wagner was escorted out by PNC security with no clarification on the credential issue and was denied a request to speak with someone from the governor’s office.

Listen here for Wagner’s exchange with PNC security and an NCBCE representative.

This move by the governor’s office left some scratching their heads.

But it wasn’t the first time an N.C. Policy Watch reporter was denied access to a McCrory presser.

Courts and law reporter Sharon McCloskey was barred from entering a press conference McCrory held pardoning Leon Brown and Henry McCollum just two weeks ago.

After showing her N.C. Policy Watch staff press credential, McCloskey was told by a communications representative from the Office of the Governor Greg Steele that only Capitol Press Corps members were allowed access. Shortly afterwards, a reporter from the Wall Street Journal, not a member of the Capitol Press Corps, was let in.

Despite numerous attempts seeking clarification of what “credential” is necessary for the media to cover a press event on McCrory’s public schedule, N.C. Policy Watch has yet to hear back from the governor’s office.

Terry Stoops, K12 education researcher for the John Locke Foundation, sums it up quite succinctly.

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UPDATE 6/26/2015

N.C. Policy Watch reporter Lindsay Wagner has since received an email response from Communications Director Josh Ellis from the Office of the Governor. This is the first time N.C. Policy Watch has heard from the McCrory administration on the matter. The text of the email response is below.

Lindsay,

I wanted to follow up on your email to Eric about the NCBCE event.

The public schedule clearly lists this event as open to credentialed press. The North Carolina Association of Broadcasters, North Carolina Press Association, Capitol Press Corps or members of a widely-recognized media cooperative such as the Associated Press make the decisions about who should or should not receive credentials. Simply put, we let the press determine who should be identified as credentialed press. For more information about obtaining those credentials, you can contact the organizations listed above or visit: http://www.ncpress.com/nc-capitol-press-corp.

Thanks
Josh

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