By Derrick Hinds, RTDNA
After a year-long review by a committee comprised of court and media members, the state of Iowa has released a proposed revision of its court rules regarding media coverage.
One significant change acknowledges the changing media landscape with a broader definitition of the news media beyond newspaper and broadcast outlets. Another allows for a variety of new electronic devices to be used in the courtroom, including laptops, tablet computers and smartphones. The court will continue to limit the total number of news media representatives in the courtoom but will allow each representative to use multiple devices if needed, such as a reporter who might need to file video clips, still photos and social media posts during the course of proceedings. The proposed changes also include standardizing other media procedures across the state.
The changes do not affect other standing rules such as the state's use of regional media coordinators, pool arrangements or the judge's discretion about media coverage.
A public comment period will be open until January 6, 2014 before the rules are finalized and put into effect. You can read about the proposed changes on the Iowa court system's website.
Iowa continues to be one of the more progressive states regarding media coverage in courtrooms. Courts and media organizations in other states may be able to draw on its rules as an example of how to incorporate current newsgathering practices into existing procedures. How does your state stack up when it comes to media coverage in the courts? You can see the latest information for all 50 states in RTDNA's Cameras in the Court Guide.
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