Covering Courts in DC Structure: DC Courts Structure: Federal Courts Tips for Reporting Contact Info Glossary Searchable PDF

Even the best journalist can easily become lost in the thicket of unfamiliar terms, strangely named offices, and complicated procedures that is a court system. Easily lost, that is, unless he or she has a good guidebook.

With the publication of this Handbook, the Council for Court Excellence has tried to provide just such a guide to reporters following stories into the District’s complex court system. The Council is to be applauded for producing a guide which is clear, concise and remarkably free of jargon. It is complete and authoritative, a very useful tool for the reporter striving to produce accurate, balanced and fair journalism.

Understanding the court system is essential if a reporter expects to produce accurate articles, and accuracy has never been more important. Explaining and reporting on the legal system is a vital part of fulfilling the news media’s role of explaining democracy to citizens. Confusion and errors undermine the role.

The Council has done a great service to the news media – and to society – in producing this important document.

Jack Murphy
Executive Director


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