“It’s the Best Job on the Paper” – The Courts Beat During the Journalism Crisis

Richard Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Local journalism in the UK has been described as being in “crisis”. Local newspapers have experienced years of declining circulations and staff cuts, leading to questions about how effectively those institutions can continue to perform normative functions of journalism. One of those is to report on the courts. Through analysis of 22 semi-structured interviews with local newspaper reporters who cover the courts beat, agency court reporters who supply the local press, as well as broadcast journalists involved in both local and national court coverage, this paper helps to establish how the daily newswork of court journalists has developed amid a turbulent period in journalism, especially local journalism. The research finds that court reporting has been less affected than other news beats but faces a series of challenges related to financial cuts and other pressures. While the local press has become even more essential to the provision of court reporting, a central part of the news media’s fourth estate role, those challenges affect the ability of court reporters to perform this function. This paper recommends that policymakers consider using a form of public funding to guarantee the future of court reporting at the local level.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1307-1328
Number of pages22
JournalJournalism Practice
Issue number9
Early online date5 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2021


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