Sep 29, 2010

Knight-sponsored courtroom project considers transparency vs. privacy

WBUR's Order in the Court 2.0, winner of a $250,000 Knight News Challenge grant, is working to set best practices for effective ways to cover courts using digital technology. It's moving ahead to create an area in the Quincy (Mass.) District Court for live blogging and live-streaming of the court's proceedings, along with a website for its daily docket. But all this raises issues of privacy vs. public interest. Project creator John Davidow, also exec director of, writes on MediaShift that he and his team met last week with Judge Andre Gelinas, a retired justice on the Massachusetts Appeals Court who is now special adviser to the chief justice for administration and management for information technology. They're tackling big questions: Would photographing alleged victims of domestic violence keep them from coming forward? How should discussions of a defendant's mental illness be handled? Should the project's video be archived? "The meeting made it clear that the work of Order in the Court 2.0 will be a useful resource for other projects that want to provide greater access to our nation's courts," Davidow said.

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