Covering the Courts: Free Press, Fair Trials, and Journalistic Performance

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Robert H. Giles, Robert W. Snyder
Transaction Publishers, 1998 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 146 pages
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Covering the Courts shows how writers and journalists deal with present-day major trials, such as those involving Timothy McVeigh and O.J. Simpson. The volume features such outstanding contributors as Linda Deutsch and Fred Graham, and provides an in-depth look at the performance of the court in an age of heightened participation by reporters, camera operators, social scientists, major moguls of network radio and television, and advocates of special causes.

The volume does far more than discuss specific cases. Indeed, it is a major tool in the study of the new relationships between a free press and a fair trial. Interestingly, a consensus is described in which the parties involved in efforts to balance freedom of the press and the right to a fair trial are moving in tandem. In this regard, sensitive issues ranging from the universality of law to the particularity of racial, religious, and gender claims, are explored with great candor.

The volume also turns the intellectual discourse to its major players: the members of the press, the lawyers, and the judiciary. Has there been a shift from reporting functions to entertainment values? Does television and live presentation shift the burden from the contents of a case to the photogenic and star quality of players? What excites and intrigues the public: serious disturbances to the peace and mass mayhem, such as the Oklahoma bombings or sexual adventures of entertainment and sports figures? The findings are sometimes disturbing, but the reading is never dull. This book will be of interest to journalists, lawyers, and the interested general public.

This volume is the latest in the Transaction Media Studies Series edited by Everette E. Dennis, dean of the school of communication at Fordham University. The volume itself is edited by Robert Giles, the editor, and Robert W. Snyder, the managing editor, of Media Studies Journal. The original contributions were initially presented at The Freedom Forum and its Media Studies Center.

 

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Contents

Free Press Fair Trial
1
Lessons from the Timothy McVeigh Trial I
11
The McVeigh trial media were generally uncritical of the prosecutions
18
If Canada is to Americans a foreign country its foreignness is to
26
Cameras in the Courts
33
Lessons from the O J Simpson Trial I
43
Flash and Trash
53
The CameraShy Federal Courts
63
Justice by the Consent of the Governed
85
Two federal appellate judges who have helped to set national judicial
97
A New York City sex crimes prosecutor surveys the media and con
100
Feeding the Ravenous Appetite of the Press
111
The Role of the Media in Exposing
119
Cast a Cautious Eye on the Supreme Court
125
Surveying books about the Supreme Court that range from deferential
137
Index
143

Journalism Meets Art
71
CrossExaminations
77

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About the author (1998)

Robert W. Snyder is managing editor of the Media Studies Journal, a historian, and co-author of Metropolitan Lives: The Ashcan Artists and Their New York. He has taught at Princeton University and New York University.

Robert Giles is editor-in-chief of Media Studies Journal, senior vice president of the Freedom Forum and executive director of Media Studies Center. Formerly the editor and publisher of The Detroit News, he is the author of Newsroom Management: A Guide to Theory and Practice.

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