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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77925 Find in a Library
Title: Media Coverage of the Courts - Improving but Still Not Adequate
Journal: Judicature  Volume:65  Issue:1  Dated:(June-July 1981)  Pages:18-24
Author(s): D Shaw
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 7
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Courts must rely on the press to explain their actions to the public; however, the press coverage is inadequate, mainly because the results of court actions receive more attention than the process of law.
Abstract: The press often fails to write about incompetent or unethical lawyers or judges, unless a formal, investigative proceeding is already under way. Many important problems and developments (e.g., legal clinics and increased prosecution of white-collar crimes) are ignored or covered superficially. Furthermore, the press often misunderstands the role of the judge and the function of the courts as a coequal, independent branch of government. In addition, the intermediate appellate courts where many interesting cases are resolved and many principles of law are enunciated are ignored. Despite the increased staff, time, and space devoted to legal matters, the press has not kept pace with the growing phenomenon of the law as a social, political and governmental institution. To remedy this situation, journalists who cover courts should undergo limited legal training. This would enable reporters to speak the same, often arcane language as the people they cover, to invite confidence not easily given to nonlawyers, and to provide historical perspective to their writing.
Index Term(s): Court relations; Media coverage
Note: This article is adapted from the Los Angeles Times, 1980.
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