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Mass. Court Will Be Testing Ground for Best Blogging Practices

Posted Jun 17, 2010 8:24 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A public radio executive plans to use a Massachusetts courtroom as a laboratory to develop best practices for coverage of court proceedings by bloggers and journalists using new media.

John Davidow, executive director of new media for WBUR.org, is spearheading the project with a $250,000 grant from the Knight Foundation, according to Robert Ambrogi’s LawSites and the Nieman Journalism Lab. The courtroom in Quincy District Court will have a designated area with Wi-Fi access for live-blogging and the ability to live-stream court proceedings to the public, according to a press release.

The project will also publish the daily docket on the Internet and build a wiki with common legal terms.

Davidow says the courts are largely operating under video and recording standards adopted in the 1970s and 1980s, and decisions on digital access vary from court to court. He hopes new standards for digital coverage will pave the way to greater access to the courts.

“The courts have sort of gone further and further way from the public and public access. In the old days, they were built in the center of town,” he told the Nieman Journalism Lab. “The community was able to walk into the courts and see what was going on. Modern life has done away with that.”

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