Thursday, December 24, 2009

Hyperlocal-balancing justice with journalism

If hyperlocal becomes the trend of 2010 then one of the issues that it will have to grapple from a journalistic point of view is court reporting.

One of the criticisms of local papers at the moment is that the days of the journalist sitting in court all day are long since gone.

But it can be a minefield and as William Perrin writes

Ante-diluvian court processes combine with the minefield of contempt of court to make it tricky to write about local justice being done. As a local web publisher in an area with a long, tragic history of ASB with a sizable local audience I’d like daily court results and timetables posted to a courts website, preferably with an RSS feed. After all, you can go to the court and watch from the gallery or see the screens.

But he finds fault in this excerpt from a green paper earlier this year from the Ministry of Justice

It is clear that there needs to be a balance between providing communities with information on court outcomes, which is in the public domain, and the need to ensure that such information is not misused. This issue is particularly pertinent because of the power of the internet to collect and make available information from a wide range of sources, and the difficulties of regulating the way in which such information is stored and reused.

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