NC Policy Watch, a project of the North Carolina Justice Center, is a news and commentary outlet dedicated to informing the public — including elected officials as they debate important issues — and ultimately to improving the quality of life for all North Carolinians.

Each workday, Policy Watch generates a large and steady flow of timely, accurate and hard-hitting commentaries, analysis and news reports that inform elected officials, advocates, the media and the public at-large. With a team of four veteran, full-time reporters dedicated to covering state government, the project is one of North Carolina’s most important news outlets and generates hundreds of original news stories each year. The Policy Watch blog, The Progressive Pulse, is one of North Carolina’s busiest and important interactive policy websites.

Policy Watch staff members also speak frequently at forums and events throughout the state and regularly provide insights and expert analysis for various media outlets. Policy Watch Director Rob Schofield is the host of a weekly syndicated radio show — News and Views — which airs on several stations around the state. Policy Watch Senior Contributor Chris Fitzsimon is a regular panelist on NC SPIN, a weekly television talk show about state government and politics. The project also sponsors the “Crucial Conversations” luncheon series that provides a regular venue for prominent state and national leaders to inform and engage with North Carolinians about important issues facing the state and nation.

The list of specific issues tackled over the years by the Policy Watch staff is a long one and includes state fiscal policy, voting rights, health care policy, K-12 and higher education, LGBTQ and immigrant rights, voting rights, racism and racial discrimination, government and lobbying reform, environmental protection, reproductive freedom, sexual discrimination, affordable housing, gun violence, criminal justice reform, consumer protection and many, many more.

To subscribe to our newsletters and investigative reports, click here.

To request a speaker for an event or media appearance, please contact Rob Schofield at 919-861-2065 or rob@ncpolicywatch.com

If you would like to contribute to our work, please contact Rob Schofield at the phone number or email listed above or simply click here.

The staff of NC Policy Watch:

Billy-ball-2-edit-100x147 Billy Ball, Education Reporter, joined Policy Watch in January 2016. He covers public education at the N.C. General Assembly and the State Board of Education. Before joining the project, Billy was a staff writer and investigative reporter for The Independent Weekly for more than three years, covering education, the environment, politics and the criminal justice system. Before that, Billy served as a general assignment reporter for The Sanford Herald and The Monroe Enquirer-Journal.


Melissa Boughton Melissa Boughton, Courts and Law Reporter, joined Policy Watch in September 2016. She covers local, state and federal courts and writes about key decisions that impact the lives of North Carolinians. Before joining the project, Melissa worked the crime and courts beats at The Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C.; The Winchester Star in Winchester, Va.; and The Kerrville Daily Times in Kerrville, TX. While reporting in Charleston, she covered the Emanuel church shootings and the police killing of Walter Scott. She was part of the team that was named a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in breaking news reporting for coverage of Scott’s death.


Nelle Dunlap, New Media Director, is a digital artist with a background in education, community organizing, and design. At Policy Watch, Nelle keeps the website running smoothly and collaborates with reporters to create new visual content — including video, info-graphics, and interactive social media.


Chris Fitzsimon-8-12-HEADSHOT-edit-100x147 Chris FitzsimonSenior Contributor, was the founder and original director of Policy Watch and has long been North Carolina’s most prominent progressive media figure. Though no longer a full-time staff member, Chris still advises the project, writes occasional editions of the Fitzsimon File, appears weekly on the TV political talk show NC SPIN and works to build and support similar news and commentary projects around the country.


Clayton Henkel, Communications Coordinator for Policy Watch, joined the project in November 2009 and is one of North Carolina’s most experienced and accomplished electronic journalists. She is responsible for the project’s website and newsletter management as well as production of daily radio commentaries and the weekly News and Views radio program.


Joe Killian Joe Killian, Investigative Reporter, joined Policy Watch in August of 2016. His work takes a closer look at government, politics and policy in North Carolina and their impact on the lives of everyday people. Before joining Policy Watch, Joe spent a decade at the News & Record in Greensboro, reporting on everything from cops and courts to higher education, and eventually became the paper’s full-time government and politics reporter. In that role he covered the North Carolina General Assembly and statewide elections. His work has also appeared in The Winston-Salem Journal, Go Triad, and The Bristol Press in Bristol, Conn., and The Cape Cod Times in Hyannis, Mass.


Rob Schofield, NC Policy Watch Director, has three decades of experience as a lawyer, lobbyist, writer and commentator. At Policy Watch, writes and edits daily online commentaries and handles numerous public speaking and electronic media appearances. He also delivers a radio commentary that’s broadcast weekdays on WRAL-FM and WCHL and hosts News and Views, a weekly radio news magazine that airs on multiple stations across North Carolina.


Lisa Sorg, Environmental Reporter, joined Policy Watch in July 2016. She covers environmental issues, including social justice, pollution, climate change and energy policy. Before joining the project, Lisa was the editor and an investigative reporter for INDY Week, covering the environment, housing and city government. She has been a journalist for 22 years, working at magazines, daily newspapers, digital media outlets and alternative newsweeklies.


General Information
P.O. Box 28068
Raleigh, NC 27611
224 S. Dawson Street
Raleigh, NC 27601