Date of this Version
Court Review, Volume 47, Issues 1-2, 38-41
Often judges are uncomfortable dealing with the media; many feel that the risks of bad coverage outweigh other factors. But when the public has an interest in a case pending in our courts, there’s only one realistic way for most of the public to find out what’s happening—through the media. Most judges will need to deal with the media at some time during their judicial careers.
I presided over two high-profile murder trials that drew national media attention, but I was lucky that my background left me comfortable with handling the media relations that surrounded those and other trials. I majored in journalism as an undergraduate at the University of Kansas, which has a topnotch journalism program. I worked part-time as a radio news reporter while in college. And I worked briefly as a press secretary to a Kansas congressman. These experiences, combined with the lack of a trained media representative on our court’s administrative staff, made me choose to handle those tasks from within my chambers—and often personally—when trials in my court garnered media attention.