Starting today, most of what happens in a bustling courtroom in Quincy, Ma., District Court, including murder arraignments, traffic, and drug cases, become fodder for a new experiment: how bloggers and other citizen journalists can cover courts using new media and social media. reports the Associated Press. The court proceedings will be streamed live over the Web for anyone to see. The courtroom, which in the past has not allowed reporters to even computers, will now welcome laptops, iPads, and smartphones, and will encourage live blogging, Tweeting, and Facebooking. The court’s website is http://opencourt.us
It's part of an experiment court officials hope will help establish guidelines for courts as they grapple with how to use digital technology and how to accommodate citizen journalists and bloggers. While many states allow cameras in courtrooms 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. “In the past, reporters were the connection to the nation's courts, but with the changes in the media landscape, there are just less and less journalists who are that bridge to the public,” said John Davidow of the “OpenCourt” project. The Quincy project is funded by a $250,000 grant through Knight News Challenge to Boston's National Public Radio affiliate WBUR.