Preparing + managing a court's message

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New guide helps court leaders manage their message

media guide

Media has always played an important role in communicating a court's message. The National Association for Court Management and the Conference of Court Public Information Officers have developed a media guide to help court leaders effectively and responsibly share news with their constituents. The guide explains how to write an effective press release, how to deal with high-profile trials and emergencies and how to effectively and responsibly use social media.

CCPIO webinar discussed how court leaders should prepare for (more) chaos

disinformation

Catch a replay* of CCPIO’s Oct. 13 session on preparing for the election as a court public information officer (PIO). Dozens of PIOs participated in this 90-minute session that covered several election-related topics on which court PIOs should be focused. The theme throughout: prepare. Speakers touched on how to plan for potential communications crises in the event of a contested election that lands in court; how to be alert to potential social media disinformation attacks before and after election day; and how to proactively use social media as a messaging platform to reinforce the role of the courts. The session* is packed with useful tips, including the observation from Craig Waters, PIO for the Florida Supreme Court, that “your website is your #1 crisis access point. Keep it accurate and useful with current photos and strong background info and bios.” Given that in some courts, website content is not managed by the PIO but by an IT staffer, having a plan for rapid updates is vital. Along the same lines, Jesse Rutledge of NCSC asked participants to ask themselves if they absolutely had to post critical information to their social media channels in less than an hour, “how comfortable are you that you could do that?”

*To view recorded webinar, enter CCPIOChaos2020 as password.

What is 'doxing' and how can courts handle it?

doxxing

Doxing (or doxxing) (v.): the act of researching and publicly broadcasting private or identifying information about an individual or organization online. A 'doxer' can obtain damaging information by using databases, social media websites, or hacking.

Judges and court staff can be a target of this behavior. Medium.com provides several steps members of a judiciary can take to protect their identity. Some of these include:

  • Change all existing passwords.
  • Turn on two-factor verification.
  • Install a virtual private network.
  • Change privacy settings on social networks.
  • Kill all unused accounts.

State Bar of Michigan issues statements on judges’ gifts from attorneys and use of social media

SBM logo

The State Bar of Michigan’s Ethics Committee has issued an opinion regarding judges’ acceptance of attorney gifts. The opinion states, “A judge, judge’s family member, or staff member may accept gifts that are considered ‘ordinary social hospitality’ but should not accept any other gifts from persons who may appear before the judge.” The committee has also published a list of FAQs about judges’ use of social media. <