The reporter behind the controversy over PBS affiliate UNC-TV releasing pre-broadcast footage and reporting docs to the North Carolina state legislature spoke out on Friday (July 16). In a statement, Eszter Vajda said: “This is why I became a journalist … to bring information to the public that they don’t have, to arm them with information that sometimes is kept from them on purpose.” She said the story, on Alcoa’s request to renew its license on several hydroelectric dams, “deals with the relationship between big business, people and the environment.”
After a state legislative committee investigating Alcoa’s license renewal request declared UNC-TV a “state agency,” Alcoa then demanded, via the state’s open records laws, that the station furnish it all the reporter’s materials on the story dating to January 2008. A station spokesman said its attorneys are currently reviewing the request. See the next Current, July 26, for more on this story.