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A Journalist’s Guide to the Federal Courts, Administrative Office of the United States Courts


Federal judges and the journalists who cover them share much common ground. One clear area of mutual interest is accurate and informed coverage of federal courts. A Journalist’s Guide to the Federal Courts is intended to assist reporters assigned to court coverage. It is the media who inform and educate the public about the courts, spark discussion and debate about their work, instill public trust and confidence in the institution and its function, and help protect judicial independence. These are worthwhile and important pursuits.

There are justifiable and distinct differences between the three branches of government and the access they grant the news media. Most of the work of federal courts is performed in open court and decisions, and in most cases court filings are available on the Internet. This primer is aimed at helping reporters who cover federal appellate, district, and bankruptcy courts – the cases, the people, and the process.

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