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Paper Chase is 'Doing Public Service,' Sharing Info Real Time and For Free

Bernard Hibbitts and students
Photo by Edward Reiker

Bernard Hibbitts (and students)
Jurist—Paper Chase,
Associate Dean for Communications & Information Technology, University of Pittsburgh School of Law

Jurist—Paper Chase is a robust legal news site filled with well-sourced and timely news. Much of the focus is on international law and world justice issues. And most of the work is done by a mostly volunteer group of some 30 law student reporters, editors and Web developers.

But like most critically acclaimed blogs, there is a single person and idea that led to online success. In this case, the man behind the blog is Bernard Hibbitts, a law professor and associate dean at the University of Pittsburgh.

Hibbitts—whose research sits at the intersection of law and the media—first launched the site that became Jurist in 1996, well ahead of its time. But even with the advent of social networking and the Net-melding effect that mixes news, commentary, opinion and gossip, Hibbitts has kept Jurist focused on straight, neutral reporting with a heavy emphasis on sourcing.

In Jurist’s online profile, the publication touts itself as an “online fusion of PBS and C-SPAN for legal news.”

The profile also says that “Jurist emphasizes documentation of legal events and prefers facts and true expertise to mere punditry.”

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