Archive for May, 2011

Final roundup

May 25th, 2011 by Jack Styczynski

On the News Service, Alva French had a piece on a mecca for graffiti artists.

Nathan Frandino and Annais Morales did a story on a New Yorker who recycles old bikes. Ms. Morales was also back in the New York Post last month. In addition, busy Annais had a contribution on the latest episode of “219 West”, as did Alcione Gonzalez, Sherrina Navani and Michael McCutcheon.

Elsewhere, Ad Age recently had a nice breakdown of The Demographics of Social Media. Speaking of which, check out The Most Complete Twitter Application List Available.

And what would the last post of the school year be without another Census tool?

Best semester ever.  Now please go out and kick you-know-who’s you-know-what in a research contest.

Have a great summer!

Broadcast Craft, Spring 2011: I'm expecting fame and fortune from this crew.

Broadcast Craft, Spring 2011: I'm expecting fame and fortune from this crew.

Last words: Until we meet again, Uncle Don.

Court research

May 4th, 2011 by Jack Styczynski

Please welcome today’s guest speaker, Jonathan Dienst of WNBC.

Points of emphasis for critical thinking:

  1. With many courts at the federal, state and local levels, there is no “one stop shopping” for court research.  In most cases, you’ll need to know the jurisdiction before you can find anything.
  2. In many jurisdictions, particularly at the local levels, case information isn’t online at all.  For those cases, you have no choice but to visit the courthouse or contact the court clerk to get info (unless you can get it from participating lawyers).
  3. Of the courts that do have case information online, there’s no uniformity.  Some post full case documents.  Others provide only basic docket information.  And many times, you’ll have to use a fee-based service to get the info.
  4. For federal cases, PACER is the best place to go.  Although fee-based, it’s relatively inexpensive.  It has both docket information and (most) case documents.  (Note: The Supreme Court has its own no-cost site separate from the PACER system.  Historical SCOTUS info can be found here, here, here and here.)  FindLaw is another good site to search Supreme and Circuit Court decisions.  The Federal Judiciary also publishes the very useful Journalist’s Guide to the Federal Courts and Understanding the Federal Courts.
  5. LexisNexis has case information for the most jurisdictions–federal, state and local–but not all of it is available in the academic version accessible to CUNY students.
  6. Beyond PACER and LexisNexis, you should check individual court sites, such as the New York State Unified Court System’s eCourtsAppellate Courts, SCROLL or Slip Decisions pages, to find out what is and isn’t available online.  (Note: Cornell’s Legal Information Institute has archived New York Court of Appeals decisions.)
  7. For higher-profile cases, you can sometimes find court documents posted at sites such as FindLaw, Jurist, MoreLaw or The Smoking Gun.
  8. You’ll probably need to talk to them for your story anyway, so if all else fails, lawyers might provide case information.  My favorite sites to find lawyer contacts are LegalDockets and Martindale.com.

Full circle

May 2nd, 2011 by Jack Styczynski

It’s especially good to be working at NBC today, remembering my day here on 9/11.  I just wish Times Square Church pastor David Wilkerson could have seen this…

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Don’t forget our special court research session on Wednesday!  Here’s an example of my latest court research success.  (Yup.  Even college basketball reporters need court research.)