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Judges, reporters grapple with tweets @court

Mon, 16 Apr 2012 13:54:21 CDT
By: AP

Twitter is changing courtroom journalism, breaking it into bite-size reports that take shape as fast as a reporter can tap 140 characters into a smartphone. And that's creating tension between reporters and judges who fear tweeting could threaten a defendant's right to a fair trial. The issue has been highlighted by a Chicago court's decision to ban anyone from tweeting at the upcoming trial of a man accused of killing Jennifer Hudson's family. Reporters insist tweeting is essential to providing a play-by-play as justice unfolds.
Judge Charles Burns fears feverish tweeting could distract jurors when testimony begins next week. A spokesman says tweeting ``takes away from the dignity of a courtroom.'' The judge will let reporters send e-mails periodically on their cellphones.

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