Cameras in Courts: Is your state making progress?

March 23, 2017 01:30

Despite more courtrooms across the country opening their doors to cameras and microphones, more progress needs to be made. This year, Congress is again attempting to pass a bill that would bring cameras to the U.S. Supreme Court, a move supported by members of both parties in the House Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet. When asked at his confirmation hearing if he would favor allowing cameras in the Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch said he would keep an open mind. A recent survey confirms fully three-quarters of American voters support cameras in the Supreme Court.

RTDNA is the nation's leading organization working on behalf of electronic journalists to gain access to America's courtrooms for cameras, microphones and other electronic newsgathering tools of the trade. We rely on our membrers to keep us informed of developments in their state legislatures and court committees that might affect the way courts are covered.

Is your state making progress? Are efforts under way to improve access? Please let us know in the comments below. In partnership with our members, other journalism groups, lawmakers, lawyers, clerks and judges in all 50 states, we have worked to responsibly expand opportunities for journalists to cover our government's judicial branch at work, and hope to build on those successes. If you know of additional resources, such as your state's listing of court pool coordinators, press association guides to your state's rules or other resources that would help journalists understand how they can cover the courts, please let us know and send along links to the relevant pages online. We want to have the best collection of information available.

One of the key resources we have developed to aid in that effort is our acclaimed Cameras in the Courts Guide. It covers rules regarding video and still cameras, microphones, laptops, smartphones and more, including even live blogging and tweeting, with details from every state and courts at the federal level.

Our guide includes links to the constitutional provisions, state laws, administrative orders or policies that form the basis of each state's rules, along with links to media guides, sources of video and audio coverage and more. By studying the guide, you can learn the rules for your own state, and compare them to more favorable rules from elsewhere to lobby your state's judges and lawmakers toward making improvements.

Please visit the Cameras in the Courts page on our website, and check out the information for your state. RTDNA will continue to work to open more courtrooms to cameras, microphones and the latest electronic newsgathering tools.