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With “We’re just getting started!” as its rallying cry, Carolina Public Press this year celebrates 10 years of independent, investigative journalism for all of North Carolina.
At 11 a.m. on March 4, 2011 – the moment the website went live – CPP became the only independent nonprofit digital-first media organization that served 17 counties of Western North Carolina that was, said Founder and Executive Director Angie Newsome “passionately, obstinately, wholeheartedly devoted to investigative and public interest journalism.”
Started at Newsome’s kitchen table, the organization expanded its coverage area to all of North Carolina in 2018. Today, its team—including staff, contractors, freelancers, and board members —stretches across the state, with more than a dozen people working to edit, report, photograph, investigate stories that would otherwise likely go untold.
“From day one it’s been our mission to dismantle barriers and shine a light on the critical, overlooked and under-reported issues facing our state. We believe strongly that investigative, in-depth, independent journalism is at the heart of an informed public,” Newsome said. “2021 is a time to celebrate our accomplishments, but to also look toward our future and, in the next 10 years, we are all about our impact, reach and sustainability.”
Carolina Public Press has spent the last decade building and exploring many ways to get public service journalism into the eyes, ears, minds and hearts of North Carolinians, especially those who are most directly affected by state policies and official actions. The organization’s key strategies include listening and research, with an emphasis on transparency and open access to public records and government. One of the organization’s hallmarks is community dialogue—dialogue that often takes the form of listening sessions and live and virtual events—to drive story development.
Among the more than 2,800 stories published in the last 10 years, Carolina Public Press has investigated the long-term care industry, local and statewide government malfeasance and North Carolina’s elections system. Its reporters have written about police evidence rooms, jail conditions, water ownership, toxic wells. CPP has done long-term investigative work revealing problems with prosecuting sexual assaults in North Carolina, the vast problems facing group homes, the future of more than 1 million acres of national forests, child protective services and more.
“Our work has had dramatic results,” Newsome said. “From helping gain the release of evidence room audits to outbreaks of COVID in nursing homes, to changing state and federal laws related to consent and access to highly trained forensic nurses, our reporting has had undeniable impact on the lives of people across the state.”
With a global pandemic affecting the people of North Carolina and a contentious election both nationally and statewide, readers viewed nearly 2 million pages at carolinapublicpress.org in 2020. CPP also launched a membership program last year, increasing the number of people who support the organization with financial support by 80%.
We’re just getting started
“Moving from a one-person, kitchen table-based news organization to a statewide one has been a journey, one that I’m grateful to be a part of and one that I’m honored so many people, foundations and sponsors have supported throughout the last decade,” Newsome said. “And 2021 promises no less. Much of what we’ll do is what we’ve devoted ourselves to nearly every day of the past 10 years—producing critical and impactful independent, investigative and public interest journalism.”
In celebration of its 10th anniversary, Newsome announced that the organization is working to grow into the state’s largest wholly independent nonprofit news organization devoted to investigative and public service journalism. Among its plans, Newsome said, are strategies to raise $1.8 million in operating capital a year and a $1 million endowment that will go toward supporting a news team of nearly a dozen journalists working across the state. That includes investigative reporters and a team in Raleigh covering the NC General Assembly.
“We believe every North Carolinian—in every neighborhood—deserves access to nonpartisan investigative and public service news they can trust, and that many, many people have stories that need to be told and issues that need to be investigated,” Newsome said. “It’s vital to our democracy. We’ve proven we can do it—and that our reporting matters. We’re just getting started.”
Learn more about Carolina Public Press and its ten year history in North Carolina.
Watch a short video celebrating our anniversary.