Week 10 Eportfolio/Covering Courts

We’ll begin class this week with a workshop on eportfolio. This semester you’ll be using eportfolio to post your final project.

Next we’ll discuss covering courts.

How a case moves through the courtsSource: American Bar Association

Writing the court story

Here are some examples of trial stories with the San Francisco Chronicle’s coverage of the Yusef Bey IV trial:

Opening statements: Prosecutor: Evidence links bakery, Bailey killing

Eyewitness testimony: Chauncey Bailey killing described by witnesses

Devaughndre Broussard testimony:
Chauncey Bailey killer takes stand in murder trial

Chauncey Bailey shooter laughed at killings

Antoine Mackey testimony: Chauncey Bailey murder defendant testifies

Closing arguments: Bakery defense calls star witness a murdering liar

Conviction: Your Black Muslim Bakery leader guilty of murder

Witness testimony: Sabrina Fulton

Tips for Finding a Trial

Ongoing court cases:

  • Arraignment or plea hearing of Lee Eigl: Wednesday April 5, 9 a.m. 850 Bryant St., Department 9
    This will be a very short hearing but since you have background on the case you could write a story on what happens in court. Or you could go to this and then look for a trial.

San Jose: http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2017/04/03/inmates-testify-in-trial-of-3-correctional-deputies-charged-with-inmates-murder/

Preliminary hearing for Frederick Tran, accused of killing SF State student Ariana Hatami: Wednesday, April 26 at 9 a.m San Mateo Country Superior Court, 400 County Center, Redwood City. This is after the deadline but if anyone wants to cover this I will extend the deadline.

Tips for covering a trial:

  1. Write a lede that sums up the highlight(s) of the day in court (often a news lede, occasionally a feature lede) or what happened in the case (arraignment, bail hearing, etc.) that day.
  2. Look for moments of drama, surprise, emotion
  3. Translate jargon
  4. Include both (or all) sides
  5. Get direct quotes
  6. Use proper attribution
  7. Include background information about the crime:
  • Name of victim(s)
  • Name of defendant(s)
  • Date and location of crime
  • Charges
  • Name of court (San Francisco Superior Court, Alameda County Superior Court, etc.)
  • Possible sentence
  • What is the question in this case?



About rkanigel

I'm an associate professor of journalism at San Francisco State University, where I teach Introduction to Online Journalism, Reporting, Newswriting and other courses and advise Golden Gate [X]press, the student newspaper. I was a daily newspaper reporter for 15 years and I've written for many magazines and websites, including TIME, U.S. News & World Report, Prevention, Health, Reader's Digest, lime.com and CNN.com.

Posted on April 3, 2017, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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