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WSOC-TV wins Sunshine Award for journalism

The North Carolina Open Government Coalition awarded a Sunshine Award for Journalism to WSOC-TV Channel 9 out of Charlotte for its efforts to demand accountability from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department after the police department announced major changes to its public information and public records policies. The award was presented at the annual N.C. News and Information Summit held at Elon University on Sunshine Day.

The policies threaten to obscure critical public records through procedural delays and threaten to weaken free flow of information by eliminating press conferences where department officials answer questions from media organizations.

“We held CMPD’s feet to the fire,” said Joe Bruno, a reporter at WSOC who accepted the award on behalf of the station. “Following our reports, city leaders vowed to review the policy and keep an open line of communication with media outlets when issues with police transparency come up.”

WSOC-TV’s efforts were part of a larger series of calls for better transparency out of Charlotte. WBTV, Axios Charlotte and other outlets joined WSOC-TV in calling on the police department to reverse the new policies.

The Sunshine Award recognizes multiple members of the Channel 9 news team who contributed to the reporting and production of pieces holding CMPD accountable, including Joe Bruno, Kim Holt, Allison Latos, Melissa Martin, Hunter Sáenz, Mike Stolp and Mike Oliveira.

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