Wednesday 28 July 2010

Courts in the 21st century: It's not just about tape recorders but laptops, live blogging and tweeting

A post by Siobhain Butterworth on takes the debate prompted by Heather Brooke today about whether tape recorders should be allowed in court a bit further.
What about laptops, live blogging and tweeting?
Butterworth writes: "There is something rather quaint about journalists in the 21st century using pens and notebooks to record what goes on in court hearings when the tools of the trade now include laptops, mobiles, BlackBerrys and other digital paraphernalia. Why not use them in court? In fact, why not report live from the courtroom? The obvious answer is that judges won't let you.
"In the US, lawyers have been fighting for the right of reporters and others to live-blog and tweet from court with some success. The Tribune, in Greeley, Colorado, is currently tweeting the trial of a man accused of killing his wife and last year, in Iowa, the Cedar Rapids Gazette live-blogged a tax and mail fraud case."
She quotes US lawyer Steven Zansberg of Denver law firm Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz :"The role the press plays is an important role and the question becomes why shouldn't they do it in the courtroom as opposed to stepping outside the courtroom at intervals."

1 comment:

Steve Dyson said...

No, no and no again. Why not? Only by insisting on accurate, balanced, fair and contemporaneous reports can court coverage be reasoned, calm(ish) and not damaging to justice. Wild snippets as tweets, opinionated blogs and even edited broadcasts will make a mockery of something very precious. Live broadcasts, maybe, but courts cannot be subjected to the unhindered internet media. Yes, a pencil and dated notebook sounds archaic but, do you know what, it works; it engenders care; it encourages factual checks; as does the process from reporter to newsdesk to sub... For legal checks on court copy. Let's not get shoddy.