U.S. Supreme Court

Started as a 'marketing ploy,' SCOTUSblog wins Peabody; do journalists see a threat?


SCOTUSblog has come a long way since its beginnings in 2002.

In an interview with New York Magazine, lawyer Tom Goldstein explains why he started the blog. “I had decided that I was going to be a Supreme Court litigator, and yet I had no experience before the Supreme Court,” he says. “So the blog was a marketing ploy.”

At first, the blog wasn’t doing as well as the traditional press corps, but things began to change when the blog hired veteran Supreme Court journalist Lyle Denniston, Goldstein says. “Now there’s been a very significant retrenchment of resources journalistically at the Supreme Court, and we’re going in the opposite direction,” Goldstein tells the magazine.

For some years, Goldstein was spending $250,000 a year to finance the blog, but the amount has doubled since Bloomberg Law became a sponsor. Now SCOTUSblog is the first blog to win a Peabody Award, and the mainstream press is using the blog’s coverage on decision days rather than going to the Supreme Court press room. “We’re putting more work into covering the Supreme Court than anyone in history,” he says.

Goldstein says the blog’s relationship with the press has changed since it garnered one million visitors on the day of the decision upholding the Obama administration’s health care law. “There has been a radical shift,” Goldstein says, “to the point where the mainstream press regards us as an extreme threat. Our external press citations are down. You can see it on Twitter as well. While we’ll regularly retweet pieces by other people, and we have the roundup every day of the rest of the press corps, the reverse isn’t true at all.”

Hat tip to How Appealing.

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