Monday, December 13, 2010

New case study: State court proposes big change in blogger credentials

Here's another case study to put in your blogger credentials file: The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial court is proposing sweeping changes in the state's "cameras in the courtroom" law to cover all electronic access, Twitter, and blogging--and expanded the definition of who may cover and report on court cases.

When you consider that the previous law allowed for one fixed video camera and one fixed still camera, with images shared among news organizations in a pool arrangement, the new proposal widens the possibilities considerably. Media Shift/Idea Lab's post spells it out, giving you a lot to work with as a model:
....web news editors, reporters and bloggers would have the same privileges as traditional media outlets. In addition to electronic recording devices like still and video cameras, journalists will be able to use their laptops and smartphones to cover the state's courts. The journalists will be allowed to transmit text, audio and video through these devices allowing them to provide live coverage of the courts.
All members of the media, large and small, would be required to register with the state's chief public information officer. The registration requires that the member of the media comply with the rules outlined in the new statute and that they regularly report news in some form. The statute is intentionally broad in its definition of what constitutes a member of the media and allows the state court's public information officer to make the final determination. 
Reporters from mainstream news organizations, a local blogger, lawyers, judges and clerks of the court participated in the proposal process, also offering you a great model for proceeding with your own blogger credential policy.  The Media Shift/Idea Lab post walks you through that process, as well as the proposal.

Where do you go from here? I'd suggest using this proposal (and the process) to rethink your own approach. Can you convene a few reporters, bloggers, experts, and contributors to craft a proposal for your new policy?  Include partner organizations' communicators if you often issue joint news announcements or otherwise collaborate in making news. Who else needs to weigh in?  Your proposal will have that much more credibility if the users are involved in the process--and you won't miss crucial details.

You also can read the proposed amendment and participate in the public comment period here.  Comments must be submitted on or before January 28, so share this with reporters, bloggers and public information officers now.

Related posts:  7 savvy ways to incorporate bloggers in your media relations

Credentialling bloggers: 13 examples

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