The Reporter and the Law: Techniques of Covering the Courts

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The Reporter and the Law is an insider's view of how the legal system and the press work together. Lyle Denniston begins from the premise that the law and its institutions are the public's business and that the journalist's responsibility is to appreciate, understand, and evaluate the legal process and to convey that reasoned comprehension to the public. To facilitate this task, Denniston dispels the cloud of mystery that surrounds legalese, defines the jargon of both the legal and the journalistic professions, and explains how each discipline depends on the other to perform its task properly.The first part of The Reporter and the Law explains the framework of the legal process, describes various methods a legal reporter may use to develop sources, and suggests how a reporter can live productively within the system of jurisprudence. The remainder of the book is a detailed "how to" manual which is beneficial to both the journalism student and the experienced reporter. Denniston carefully describes the best ways for a journalist to cover a trial and he analyzes each structural element of the trial for its optimum news potential.
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Editorial Reviews

Journalism Quarterly
A book about the courts that should be studied by every teacher of public affairs reporting and by every reporter covering the courts. . . . A superb handbook [that] can make a significant contribution toward improving journalists' understanding of the courts system.
Alvah H. Chapman
An invaluable guide on how a newspaper can best report the truth from charge through conviction or acquittal.
Denniston, who reports on the Supreme Court for the Baltimore Sun, describes the best methods for a journalist to cover a trial, and analyzes each structural element of the trial for its optimum news potential--illuminating important changes in the legal system for the benefit of both journalism students and experienced reporters. Originally published in 1980 by Hastings House, and reprinted with a new preface by the author. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231080309
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 10/22/1992
  • Edition description: Columbia University Press Morningside ed
  • Pages: 289
  • Product dimensions: 6.16 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Meet the Author

Lyle Denniston received an M.A. in History and Political Science from Georgetown University. A reporter for The Baltimore Sun, he is the senior member of the Supreme Court press corps and is Adjunct Professor of Law at the Georgetown University Law Center.

Columbia University Press

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