When the camera switches on in one of the busiest courtrooms in Massachusetts, murder arraignments, traffic and drug cases heard there will become fodder for a new experiment: how bloggers and other citizen journalists can cover courts using new media and social media.
Starting Monday, most of what happens in a bustling courtroom in Quincy District Court will be streamed live over the Web for anyone to see. The courtroom, which usually does not allow reporters to use even computers, will now welcome laptops, iPads and smartphones, and will encourage live blogging, Tweeting and Facebooking.
It's all part of an experiment court officials around the country hope will help establish suggested guidelines for courts as they grapple with how to use digital technology and how to accommodate citizen journalists and bloggers.
The pilot project in Quincy, just south of Boston, is believed to be one of the broadest experiments in the country for using new media in the courts. While many states allow cameras in the courtroom and some stream supreme court arguments online, the Quincy project is unusual because it will continuously stream live, unedited court proceedings all day. The courtroom will be unusually welcoming to bloggers and citizen journalists with a special seating section and Wi-Fi connection.
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By: Denise Lavoie