WFAE Assistant News Director Lisa Worf is the winner of this year’s Sunshine Award for Journalism. The award is given by the North Carolina Open Government Coalition, which is based at Elon University.
Worf was nominated for her reporting on a new law that requires court approval to get access to police dashcam and body camera video.
In October, just before this law took effect, Charlotte was the scene of protests involving the officer-involved shooting of Keith Lamont Scott. There were calls for CMPD to release the video. The department initially refused, but eventually relented to public pressure. But because of the new law, CMPD officials cannot release police video shot after Sept. 30th unless ordered to do so by a judge.
Worf wanted to find out what it would be like for the average person to petition the court for police video. Her stories were revealing. While the law provides a mechanism for the public to be granted access to police video, just attempting to access the video is difficult. It takes time, and it takes money.
“But Lisa had one advantage,” notes news director Greg Collard. “She had the time because going to court was a job assignment. Just about anyone else would have to take vacation days to go through this process.
Worf’s stories took listeners through the ups and downs of going through the court system, and gave her audience insight into the pain and confusion of family members of the deceased.
“Lisa’s persistence is a great example of WFAE journalists advocating for the listener by getting answers. We’re very proud of her,” Collard said.
The Sunshine Awards honor people and organizations whose work keeps the public informed about what governments are doing. The Open Government Coalition honors a journalist, government employee or organization, and an advocate for transparency each year.