N.C. Media and Courts Forum

Article excerpt

North Carolina's Supreme Court chief justice is creating a standing committee of journalists, judges, lawyers, and police that will hash out the often-conflicting jobs of the press and the judiciary.

"The goal of the forum is to help make court information as accessible as possible to the press while ensuring the right to a fair trial for the [prosecution], witnesses, and defendants is maintained," Chief Justice Henry Frye told editors and publishers gathered at the annual luncheon sponsored by The Associated Press' North Carolina bureau. "The courts and the press have their fair share of public criticism, and, perhaps, we can both learn from each other how to address these concerns," he said.

Teri Saylor, executive director of the North Carolina Press Association (NCPA), said its general counsel, Hugh Stevens, had been pushing for the Chief Justice's Media and Court Forum for the better part of two years.

Tar Heel State journalists say there's reason to be optimistic about the forum. "The last time this kind of forum existed, in the 1980s, we got cameras in the courtrooms of North Carolina," said AP's state Bureau Chief Sue Wilson. …