Chiefs and Court Administrators Examine New Media and the Courts at Atlanta Conference


The nation's Chief Justices and state court administrators spent four days in Atlanta discussing the changing media landscape and its impact on the administration of justice.

At the Conference of Chief Justices/ Conference of State Court Administrators annual meeting July 31-August 3, the theme was "A World of Change: Courts and the Media in 2011."
    Chief Justice Carol W. Hunstein, Supreme Court of Georgia, opened the program by detailing how rapid changes in traditional news media, combined with the rise of social media like Facebook and Twitter pose both challenges and opportunities for courts.
    "In the last decade, we have witnessed an evolution in our media with the advent of social media, the decline of print journalism, and the leaning of broadcast media toward entertainment and opinion," Chief Justice Hunstein said. "The revolution in technology has led to the ubiquitousness of news, and to citizens themselves playing the role of journalists with CNN and other networks using the video they shoot on iPhones and other devices to bring us the first pictures of the earthquake in Haiti, the Virginia Tech massacre or the tsunami in Japan."
    Echoing Chief Justice Hunstein's remarks, the opening plenary session featured a discussion moderated by Texas Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson, titled "The New Media - What is It and Why Should We Care?" Chris Davey, treasurer of the Conference of Court Public Information Officers, answered by explaining that court leaders have always had to be knowledgeable and conversant in the current communication media because supporting trust and confidence in the judicial system is a fundamental part of the judicial process, and the media are the main vehicle for fulfilling this mandate.
    Throughout the conference attendees discussed the benefits and challenges new media has on courts.
    In a closing speech to the justices and court administrators, Richard T. Griffiths, vice president and senior editorial director of CNN, said the changes in the media landscape pose "challenges for courts to figure out how to maintain credibility in an increasingly skeptical world."


    The Conference of Court Justices elected Chief Judge Eric T. Washington, District of Columbia Court of Appeals (above, right), as its president.  The Conference of State Court Administrators elected Ms. Rosalyn Frierson, Director of South Carolina Court Administration (below, right) as it president. Mr. William Vickery, center, received the Lifetime Achievement in Court Administration Award from outgoing COSCA President, left, Ms. Lilia Judson, Indiana Director of State Court Administration, Mr. William C. Vickery, and incoming COSCA President Rosalyn Frierson, Director of South Carolina Court Administration.



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