For many years, perhaps decades but I can’t confirm that, RTDNA has hosted state-by-state guides to courtroom camera procedures. The issue is a moving target with varying rules, exceptions and oddities from state to state and circuit to circuit, and this promises to be a place where the association’s broadcast journalist members can get quick, accurate answers.
Or at least that was the dream. But RTDNA’s old Cameras in the Courts Guide was hosted on a content management system so old that it may as well been five dozen loose web pages coded by hand. Those kind of old systems don’t lend themselves well to robust, quick editing, especially as the sloppy code it makes piles up. So those guides’ updates fell behind the pace of various state governments’ rule changes, which is a damning thing when you consider how slowly most governments move.
Enter this thing. On the outside at first glance, it’s a prettier version of what preceded it, complete with a fun-but-not-too-fun-because-this-is-serious-stuff logo I designed for no other reason than because I like doing that.
But instead of being a horrifying glob of disheveled HTML on the inside, this new guide is entirely database driven. When changes need making, RTDNA’s staff can pop into the site’s clean little dashboard, make whatever quick changes need making to various states and fields, and they’re all done. For users, that data-driven approach allows the site to display each state’s attributes as searchable, sortable tables in addition to the standalone guides that have always been its hallmark.