Court is one of the places where journalists are most restricted in what they can write, photograph, record or film.
That is why I am so staggered that Twitter seems to have been welcomed with open arms by some parts of the judiciary. It's less than a year since journalists were given permission to Tweet live from court.
Rupert kept up an incredible flow of Tweets from the trial and during the moments of Tabak's evidence it was a staggeringly compelling read.
I even almost forgave the lack of capital letters throughout. I still think journalists must maintain high standards of SPAG (spelling, punctuation and grammar) even if it's 'just social media'.
Longer term, I have concerns about the ‘thirst to be first’ and the prospect that promoting immediacy in news reporting may damage the traditional role of contextualising and analysing. But what is clear is that, used well, Twitter can be of huge benefit to a journalist and their readers.
And immediacy can only supplant contextual and analytical news if we let it.
So. All power to Twitter and the journalists taking advantage of a superb platform.
Perhaps it’s time to open the doors more completely – what about recording devices and cameras in court? These times are a changing and courts should be keeping up.
- The squad's attendance at a Queenstown bar holding a 'dwarf racing' evening
- Mike Tindall with his arm around a 'mystery woman' shortly after marrying the Queen's granddaughter.
- Chris Ashton, James Haskell and Dylan Hartley being offensive to a hotel worker
- Manu Tuilagi jumping from a ferry into the sea at Auckland
In one on my first lectures I always point to the Ethics Handbook for Journalists produced by the Thomson Reuter Foundation and the list of 10 Ethical Absolutes that handbook contains.
1. Always hold accuracy sacrosanct
2. Always correct an error openly
3. Always strive for balance and freedom from bias
4. Always reveal a conflict of interest to a manager/senior editor
5. Always respect privileged information
6. Always protect their sources from the authorities
7. Always guard against putting their opinion in a story or editorialising
8. Never fabricate or plagiarise
9. Never alter a still of moving image beyond the requirements of normal image enhancement
10. Never pay a source for a story and never accept a bribe
Of course, with the Leveson inquiry under way, this is highly topical. So lets throw the question out there: Of these 10 absolutes, how many are adhered to on a daily basis by the mass media in the UK?