Guide to Live-Blogging and Tweeting from Court

    by David Ardia
    December 10, 2009

    As part of the Citizen Media Law Project’s legal guide series on documenting public proceedings and events, today we published a guide to Live-Blogging and Tweeting from Court.  Over the past year, we’ve published guides addressing how to stay out of legal trouble while documenting activities at polling places and covering the Presidential Inauguration, as well as a series of videos on newsgathering and privacy. Today’s installment in the series looks at the impact of new media on
    one of our most tradition-bound institutions: the courts.

    The question of who is a journalist – and by extension, what is
    journalism — has come into sharp relief in the context of media
    coverage of public events, including access to and reporting at
    court proceedings, election events, conferences, sporting events, and
    breaking news.  A critical issue for coverage of these public events
    is, of course, access to the events in the first place.  But once you
    are in, what tools can you use to supplement your reporting?


    As we’ve noted on our blog many times,
    the popularity of Twitter and live-blogging has introduced a new
    dimension into a journalist’s coverage of court proceedings.  The use
    these real-time communications technologies has been met with a mixture
    of both acceptance and criticism from judges and lawyers.  While some
    judges allow electronic devices in their courtrooms, many others
    don’t.  In fact, some local rules prohibit the use of
    electronic devices anywhere within the courthouse!


    To help folks navigate these issues, we’ve written a guide chock full
    of practical advice on how to
    avoid legal trouble if you intend to provide live coverage from inside
    a courthouse.  To supplement the guide, CMLP staff also conducted interviews with
    journalists and bloggers with experience live-blogging or tweeting from
    court and wrote up summaries detailing their successes and failures.  

    You can find the new section on Live-Blogging and Tweeting from Court in our legal guide, along with general background on gaining access to courts and court records.

    Tagged: blogs cmlp courts government information live-streaming twitter

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