RALEIGH — As North Carolina legislators reconvene in Raleigh today to work on the state budget and other key issues, a veteran state government reporter is joining the Carolina Journal staff to help keep tabs on that work.
Barry Smith officially joined CJ as associate editor Monday after spending more than 33 years reporting for Freedom Communications’ North Carolina newspapers. He has reported on statewide issues from Raleigh since 1999.
For more than a year, Smith edited and published M2MPolitics.com, a website devoted to North Carolina politics and government. He will maintain his focus on politics and public policy while reporting for CarolinaJournal.com and the monthly Carolina Journal print publication.
Smith wrote today’s CarolinaJournal.com lead story previewing the new legislative session. Before joining the staff full time, he reported on congressional and legislative primaries for CarolinaJournal.com and wrote an April print Carolina Journal cover story about the controversial “chicken nuggets” incident involving a Hoke County preschooler.
“There’s no substitute for the wealth of knowledge and experience Barry offers us,” said Rick Henderson, CJ managing editor. “He understands the personalities and processes at the General Assembly as well as — if not better than — any journalist in the state, and we’ll rely on his expertise to help our readers understand state government better.”
“As traditional media cuts back on its original mission of keeping a close and wary eye on government, we are fortunate to have someone as experienced as Barry join our staff,” said Jon Ham, CJ publisher. “His institutional knowledge of the General Assembly and North Carolina government will benefit not only Carolina Journal readers, but the citizens of the entire state.”
Smith’s hiring fits with the John Locke Foundation’s long-term plans for Carolina Journal. “As the business model for public-interest journalism continues to change, nonprofits are stepping forward to support or produce news reporting that keeps the public informed about state and local government,” said JLF President John Hood. “Carolina Journal was founded in 1991, so obviously we have long believed that nonprofits can play an important role in reporting news and holding public officials accountable.”