Mass. Court to be Test Pad for Blogs, Tweets

A courtroom in Quincy, Mass., will become a test kitchen for using new media to cover legal proceedings, thanks to a $250,000 Knight News Challenge grant announced today. The grant will go to Order in the Court 2.0, a project spearheaded by John Davidow, executive editor of new media at WBUR in Boston.

The project will turn a courtroom in Quincy District Court into a laboratory to help establish best practices for digital coverage that can serve as a model for courts elsewhere. The courtroom will have a designated area for live blogging and the ability to stream court proceedings live to the public.

The chief judge of the court has agreed to the project and the project has the support of the Judiciary Media Committee of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (of which I am a member).

“The courts have sort of gone further and further way from the public and public access,” Davidow told Laura McGann, who wrote about the grant at Nieman Journalism Lab. “In the old days, they were built in the center of town. The community was able to walk into the courts and see what was going on. Modern life has done away with that. The bridge that was going in between the courts and the public was the media. The media has just less resources.”