The Associated Press is not planning to cover Tuesday night's debate for North Carolina's next governor because of restrictions placed on media access.
The debate sponsor is not allowing text reporters or still photographers inside the studio while the debate is taking place. Those restrictions violate basic demands of newsgathering and differ from other debates where more access was granted. Accordingly, the AP is not planning to staff the event in any format.
Should debate access conditions change, the AP will reassess this decision and expedite a coverage advisory as warranted.
Statement from North Carolina Association Of Broadcasters Educational Foundation:
The North Carolina Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation (the "Foundation") stands by its longstanding policy of not permitting news media reporters and media equipment inside
the UNC-TV studio where tonight's gubernatorial debate between Pat McCrory and Walter Dalton will originate.
The existing written debate agreement between the Foundation and the gubernatorial candidates does not allow cameras, reporters, or other media equipment inside the studio while the debate is
taking place. The reason for the provision is that the studio in which the debate broadcast originates is simply not large enough to accommodate members of the media plus the small
studio audience and broadcast production crew and news panelists.
The Foundation's written agreement with the candidates (which was entered into months ago) allows each candidate to have a small, specified number of invited guests inside the studio during
the debate, along with the broadcast production crew and their equipment, the moderator, and a panel of journalists who will ask the candidates questions. Space constraints inside the studio do
not leave enough room to accommodate all members of the news media and their equipment who wish to shoot video, still photographs, or record audio inside the studio while the debate is
taking place. Designating a single video photographer and/or reporter as a "pool" representative for all news media, as the Associated Press has just now requested, would be unfair to all the
other reporters (print, broadcast, and cable TV) who, themselves, may wish to have direct access inside the studio where the debate occurs. (We have no proof, incidentally, that all members of
the media are willing to designate the AP as their "pool" coverage representative.)
In the interest of treating all members of the news media fairly and equally, the Foundation, as in past debates at UNC-TV, will allow all media representatives to observe the debate live via a
video feed in a room adjacent to the broadcast studio.
Full and complete access by all media to the candidates will, as in the past, be permitted inside the studio where the debate takes place both before and after the debate, and all media representatives, including the AP, will at that time be permitted to take still photographs, shoot video, and obtain audio clips.