Important context to this statement: @newsobserver was talking to some of Hall's accusers and looking into the allegations before @NCPolicyWatch published its story. No one at the N&O has dated Hall or had a personal reason for pursuing the story #ncpol https://t.co/7oeeQod7Oa— Colin Campbell (@RaleighReporter) March 5, 2018
Unfortunately, over the weekend, Rep. Hall chose to issue a statement in which made the outrageous and completely false allegation that our reporting was somehow motivated by the fact that he once had a personal relationship with Megan Glazier, the daughter of North Carolina Justice Center Executive Director Rick Glazier. Megan Glazier is employed as an executive assistant at the Justice Center, which is the parent organization of NC Policy Watch. (It should be noted that Ms. Glazier’s relationship with Hall pre-dated her employment at the Justice Center, where she began work in 2016, and that nothing in the story relates to her or her relationship with Hall in any way).
Here is the actual truth:
The bottom line: Neither Billy Ball, nor I nor any member of the Policy Watch team was ever encouraged or discouraged in our pursuit of the story about Rep. Hall by Rick Glazier or any other Justice Center senior staff. While we readily concede that the matter of reporting on an individual who once had a relationship with a colleague poses some potentially challenging issues of journalistic ethics, we strongly believe that in this instance, we made the right call on all fronts.
- Billy Ball began investigating the issue of sexually inappropriate actions by state lawmakers well over a year ago. Rep. Hall’s name came up early in that process from multiple sources.
- Much later in the process of Ball’s reporting, he became aware that Ms. Glazier and Rep. Hall had once had a personal relationship.
- In recent weeks, as the story about Rep. Hall came together and Policy Watch moved closer to publishing, Billy Ball raised the issue with me as to whether we should attempt to report on the relationship between Rep. Hall and Ms. Glazier and/or offer some sort of disclosure about it.
- When I became aware of this fact, I convened a discussion of senior Policy Watch staffers to review our ethical and moral obligations. Three choices quickly emerged: a) kill the story and thereby deprive the public of information we were convinced was accurate, important and within its right to know, b) attempt to report on the past relationship between Hall and Ms. Glazier as part of the story and thereby broach the topic of a private matter that did not impact the story, or c) report the story in the way it ultimately appeared. After that discussion, it was decided that option “C” was by far the best and most ethical option.
- After reaching this conclusion, early last week, I brought the matter to Rick Glazier and, ultimately, discussed it with him and other senior Justice Center staff. This was the first time I had ever discussed Rep. Hall’s name with respect to his personal behavior with anyone outside of the Policy Watch team.
- After that discussion (which included inquiries from Rick Glazier to make certain that we were absolutely confident of our sources and the facts that we intended to report), and after Billy Ball received comments from House Minority Leader Darren Jackson and state Democratic Party Chairman Wayne Goodwin calling on Hall to resign, he gave me the authorization to take whatever action I felt was appropriate with respect to publishing.
- Last Wednesday afternoon, after final discussions with Policy Watch team members, I did a final proofread of Ball’s story and hit the “publish” button.
- After that occurred, I composed and published the blog post referenced above and conveyed the information in it to the other members of the N.C. Justice Center staff.