Help available covering diversity stories in court

When you realize that most of those in jail in our major cities are ethnic minorities and Gays, reporters doing investigative stories on those cases may need some help with access to the courts.

Many states – but not all – provide electronic access to their court records, making research on a story easier from your newsroom.

“Each state, and quite often each county within each state, has different systems and policies with regards to electronic access to court records,” according to the Reporter’s Committee for Freedom of the Press in its current Spring 2007 issue of The News Media and The Law.

In the vast majority of states, their Supreme Court and lower appellate courts, put their opinions online. Electronic access to appellate briefs, however, is somewhat limited, though it is available online in California. At the trial court level, case information is less likely to be available online.

The current issue of The News Media and The Law has a survey with detailed information for each state, including who you can contact to get information online. The guide was compiled by McCormick Tribune Legal Fellow Catherine Spratt and was funded by the McCormick Tribune Foundation.

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  • Koretzky

    It’s sad that the best thing written about this newspaper is the last thing written about this newspaper. That ending is crushing. So sorry, Andy.

  • Mike Henneke

    The last graf: nailed it.

  • whathefunpeople

    Worked in Newspapers when the little thing called the internet arrived. Watched the advertising disappear which unfortunately funds the newsroom. Readership bailed and as subscribers dropped the office became more like a morgue. I saw the demise of my beloved medium. I had wished the paper could be what it was but most of the bylines were from the newswire services. The paper bailed on what was most important to the community “local news” This wasn’t a small paper at one time we were the largest in New England but the NY Times who had purchased the paper when times were good and made obscene profits never saved for a rainy day and watched the Boston Globe bleed out. I sat in a meeting with the Publisher and asked what was the plan to deal with the erosion of advertising categories, Help Wanted (bigger than most Sunday Papers) then Travel and Education, Real Estate and Automotive. The Publisher stated that they were like the Queen Mary and it takes time to turn a ship. My reply is that we were more like the Titanic. I was asked politely not to ask any more questions. Sad to see the death of the backbone of journalism it has been long, slow, painful death. RIP

  • Andy – Eloquent eulogy. I’m saddened and angry on your behalf.

  • Rebecca Wallace Dickerson

    HI, Andy. my newspaper in eastern Washington state is for sale. I’ve published for 21 years at a profit – you wouldn’t mind moving 3,000 miles to live the dream, would you?

  • A fine, fine piece of writing, Andy. I’ve several former colleagues who worked at The Gazette at one time or another. What a shame.

  • Thanks for taking the time to write this. I’m sure that you’ve voiced what so many others on that day felt. I hope that you’re able to find gratifying, fulfilling work very soon.

  • Kathy Gambrell

    As a former Gazette reporter (1990s)…I started my career there and have thought as the cornerstone of the community, it would stand long after my career was over. This is both disheartening and tragic. But as reflected in other comments….Andy, you nailed this one. Great, but sad, piece.

  • AndySchotz

    Hi, Becky. I’m tempted – but the commute from Maryland would be a bear.

  • disqus_tpzrM7AXBU

    So sad. Time marches on and so many good things change. My late husband Daniel Butcher, was part of the Gazette family, and helped to develop the Prince Georges County editions. He truly loved the newspaper and what it stood for. Even before the Post bought the Gazette line, I loved getting that piece of goodness, information, and coupons on our doorstep in Montgomery County. I was so happy when the Post bought them and he transferred over. Ironically, for the very first edition for College Park, I had lined up his first 12 month ad through my ice rink just by mentioning the newspaper and the circulation, the ad sold itself. Good memories of a much more tangible time.

  • Bobcat1234

    Thanks for some insight for a non-journalist reader, on the dismantling process. Guilty! I never got around to subscribing and now it’s too late for the Prince George’s edition — and this despite good activist friends’ urgings to sign up. I’m sorry to see the closure because indeed, this was often the sole source for any local issue news other than the PR machines of the administration. It was the only outlet for many a local community group also. The Post seems to prefer to write about the criminals in PG County instead of about some of the unsung heroes. I miss the Gazette already. I wish you great success in your future endeavors — I feel sure they will be noteworthy!

  • Patti Gallagher Newberry

    Andy: So very sorry to read the news.


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