Today, at the Seventh Circuit Bench-Bar Conference, I was on a panel entitled "The 'New' Media: Bloggers and the Courts." My fellow panelists included Christine Hurt, Ann Althouse, Howard Bashman, Rick Garnett, and Eugene Volokh. The Honorable Diane Sykes of the Seventh Circuit moderated our panel. (Needless to say, I was very pleased to be included on a panel with such distinguished colleagues.) Before our panel, Supreme Court reporter Joan Biskupic of USA Today discussed "The Evolution of Media Coverage on the Supreme Court" and there was a panel discussion entitled "Traditional Media' s Coverage of the Supreme Court."
Some items struck me about this entire morning devoted to essentially media, technology, and the law. First, blogs and the internet are having a major impact on "traditional media." It's clear that, to keep up with the bloggers, the way of doing business has changed for reporters (e.g., blogs of their own, quicker deadlines, articles of different substance). Second, the availability of electronic information such as The Oyez Project and SSRN (and any of the other databases we link to on the ELS Blog) are, unfortunately, not widely known. Third, there is a gross disparity among individuals in understanding what blogs are and what they do. Fourth, many consider blogs to have a unique influence on the public discourse and possibly the courts. Yet, some attendees were concerned that bloggers posting about pending cases may be inappropriate. Fifth, the ELS Blog was described as more "academic in nature" than most other legal blogs, serving as a forum "for high-level exchanges of
commentary on law and legal scholarship." I think this was in response to our advanced content level and lack of posts regarding gossip or popular culture.
Finally, the best quote of the day belongs to Ann Althouse: "Judges can't write a really bloggy blog."