The legal system and media

July 29, 2008
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From Indiana Lawyer reporter Michael Hoskins, who is in Reno attending a conference at the National Judicial College:

Courts and media can sometimes collide, but there’s a plethora of reasons for both to get along. This is the topic of a two-day conference Monday and Tuesday at the National Judicial College in Reno, Nev. Indiana Lawyer is there, one of about 30 newspapers and television stations from across the nation invited to improve how we work together and complement each other’s roles.

The first day was mostly a court structure and legal system 101. The conference offered an array of intriguing thoughts such as how the First and Sixth Amendments are priorities but can often pose conflicting objectives for both judges and reporters who must balance free press and fair trials. These constitutional concerns can be convoluted by court and state legislative rules, and made more difficult by ethical considerations. Ultimately this all impacts how the public perceives what is happening in the legal system.

Today’s topics included: legal sources galore – separating information from spin and what ethical issues are involved; handling high-profile trials from both the legal and media perspectives; and the notion of pre-publication review by counsel.

We’ll have more about this in our Aug. 6 issue of Indiana Lawyer, but we’d love to hear your thoughts about how you work with media and what issues arise.
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