As part of the 2019 Sunshine Week Project, Carolina Public Press asked Guilford County Schools for electronic copies of their legal settlements since 2014. The schools mailed these hard copies instead. Frank Taylor / Carolina Public Press

Welcome to The Kicker from Carolina Public Press, a North Carolina news show bringing you conversations with journalists, sources and newsmakers from across the state.

Welcome to The Kicker from Carolina Public Press, a North Carolina news show bringing you conversations with journalists, sources and newsmakers from across the state.

In this episode, Carolina Public Press’s managing editor Frank Taylor talks with Tyler Dukes, an investigative reporter with WRAL-TV about an investigative project to celebrate Sunshine Week, a yearly observation of the importance of transparency and access to our government.

When we talk about “sunshine” in this context, we are referencing the idea of government operating in the light of day. Laws requiring open access to government meetings, advance notice of meetings and open access to most government records are collectively referred to as “sunshine laws.” This is true nationally for both federal and state laws.

North Carolina has much stronger sunshine laws than some other states, but not necessarily the strongest. If a government official refuses to comply with some aspects of the law, such as a records request, whoever is requesting the record can threaten legal action, which may prove too expensive for many individuals and even for many small media organizations. In some states, however, a publicly official in this situation could potentially face fines, a misdemeanor charge or removal from office.

In this episode, Frank Taylor of Carolina Public Press and Tyler Dukes of WRAL-TV talk about the recently completed Sunshine Week Project for 2019, which Dukes organized and oversaw and Taylor participated in. The project ask dozens of state and local governments across the state for records of their recent legal settlements. These documents are being uploaded into an online database that will be available to the public. Many governments appeared to be fully compliant and produced a substantial number of documents, some of them not that interesting, but some very interesting and worthy of further investigation. Other governments made various excuses for not providing anything during the month and a half they were given. The governments were not told in advance that this was part of a statewide project.

In addition to this episode of The Kicker, the full published Sunshine Project report is also available to read, Link.

Keep up with The Kicker

Tune in. You can find all The Kicker episodes here. And you can catch the show on the radio on Thursdays at 3:30 p.m. on WPVM FM 103.7, in Asheville, and online at,

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Made possible by: The financial support of donors like you, foundations that support Carolina Public Press’s mission, and, an independent community radio station based in Asheville, N.C., make The Kicker possible. Show your support here.

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