June 30, 2014 Last Updated 11:58 am

Journalists lean on SCOTUSblog, even as website continues to be denied accreditation

Blog, founded in 2002, has a massive following on Twitter of both consumers, attorneys, and other journalists looking for the latest news, research material and legal opinions

The U.S. Supreme Court handed down its final rulings of this session, and as is usually the case, journalists got wind of the rulings and could research them via the SCOTUSblog, a website founded in 2002 by Tom Goldstein and Amy Howe. The site has won numerous awards for its reporting including a Peabody Award last year, as well as the Society of Professional Journalist prize in 2013 for deadline reporting.

The website has tried on numerous occasions to be a credentialed by Standing Committee of Correspondents, part of the Senate Press Gallery, but as the website’s founders are also practicing attorneys, the committee continues to shoot down its applications.

For many, this is an example of the bias of the traditional media; for others an example of the guild-like nature of journalism, where there are those on the inside (newspaper reporters, for instance) and those on the outside (bloggers, digital news organizations).

Banner-SBBut the facts on the ground remain that SCOTUSblog is the go-to source for news on the Supreme Court (SCOTUS = Supreme Court of the United States).

With over 168,000 followers on Twitter, journalists follow the blog to get the quickest news on recent rulings by the nation’s highest court, and often can link right to the rulings themselves thanks to the blog. But the blog continues to lack credentials that other news organizations have.

The criteria for getting credentialed is about as old school as can be:

“Membership in the press galleries is limited by Senate Rules to “to bona fide correspondents of repute in their profession” who are full-time, paid correspondents of recognized news organizations. Correspondents must require on-site access to Senate and House members and staff.”

There are enough qualifiers there to eliminate anyone unwanted: bone fide, full-time, recognized.

For the most part, new media sites that are dissed by traditional media could care less, but in situations where they might be barred from entry – such as into government facilities, sports locker rooms, and the like – the dismissal effects the ability of the news organization to report.

Update: Everyone knows that Twitter is sometimes filled with, well, less than bright tweets. Today’s rulings have brought out a lot of folks who appear to thing that SCOTUSblog is the official blog of the Supreme Court and voicing their opinion. On days like today, it must be tough to be tweeting on SCOTUSblog.

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