Judges, reporters grapple with tweets @court

Apr 16, 2012, 6:38 PM

Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) – Twitter is changing courtroom journalism, breaking it into bite-size reports that take shape as fast as a reporter can tap 140 characters into a smartphone. And that’s creating tension between reporters and judges who fear tweeting could threaten a defendant’s right to a fair trial.

The issue has been highlighted by a Chicago court’s decision to ban anyone from tweeting at the upcoming trial of a man accused of killing Jennifer Hudson’s family.

Reporters insist tweeting is essential to providing a play-by-play as justice unfolds.

Judge Charles Burns fears feverish tweeting could distract jurors when testimony begins next Monday. A spokesman says tweeting “takes away from the dignity of a courtroom.”

The judge will let reporters send e-mails periodically on their cellphones.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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Judges, reporters grapple with tweets @court