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Court Community Communication: Fundamentals and Foundations for Court Leaders. National Association For Court Management. Court Community Communication. Public Opinion and Communication Techniques Assessing Stakeholder Views and Matching Programming Working With Media: with PIO and without

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Court Community Communication:Fundamentals and Foundationsfor Court Leaders

National Association For Court Management


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Court Community Communication

  • Public Opinion and Communication Techniques

  • Assessing Stakeholder Views and Matching Programming

  • Working With Media: with PIO and without

  • Communications Strategies


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Public Opinion About Courts

  • What are the opinions?

  • How do people form those opinions?

  • Why do we care about public opinion?

  • What is the role of media in formulating public opinion about courts?


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Public Reaction: Long Ago

  • Anger and Hostility

  • Know little to nothing

  • Cases take too long

  • Cases cost too much

  • Gender and Ethnic Bias

  • Judges: Prejudiced, calloused, uncaring


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Modern Surveys: RECENT

  • Anger and hostility

  • Cases take too long

  • Cases cost too much

  • Gender and Ethnic Bias

  • 44% say judges out-of-touch

  • 81% Judges are political


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Old Methods of Forming Opinions

  • 61% Newspapers and Magazines

  • 60% Television News

  • 40% Schools

  • 24% Television Entertainment Shows


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New Method of Forming Opinions

  • 60% Electronically

  • 50% Print

  • 26% Television Dramas

  • 18% Reality Court Television


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Changing Landscape

  • Newspapers decline 1% per year for past 18 years

  • Nightly newscasts declined 34 percent in last decade

  • Local television news declining too


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Upward Trends in Media

  • Online traffic in news increased 70 % in one year

  • 90% of Americans still get some news from radio

  • Local newspapers and special papers are thriving.



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Why Should We Care?

  • Budget Connection

  • Constituency Building

  • Leverage with Other Branches

  • Public Trust and Confidence

  • Programmatic Reasons

  • Overall Court Functioning


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Six Keys to Better Communication

  • Develop and Convey A Positive Message

  • Be Credible in What is Produced

  • Be Honest in Response to Inquiries

  • Be Accessible in 24 Hour Information Cycle

  • Be Open

  • Be Understandable


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Understandable Courts andCommunity Outreach


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Assessing Stakeholder Views

  • Audit of Whether Your Court is Understandable

  • Identify Court Stakeholders in Community

  • Determine Stakeholder Interests

  • Develop Programming to Meet Stakeholder Needs

  • Evaluate Effectiveness of Programming.


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Understandability Audit

  • Are Language Needs Met?

  • What is Telephone Access Like?

  • What is your Internet capabilities?

  • Email Access??

  • Customer Service?

  • Is the Process Broken Down in Understandable Parts?

  • Glossary of Terms?


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Understandability Audit, con’t.

  • Educational Tapes

  • Videos

  • Online Multi-media

  • Understanding Level of Court Employees

    • Educational Program

    • Internet Course

    • Video Vignettes


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Who Are the Stakeholders

  • Public Officials

  • Opinion Leaders

  • Community/Neighborhood Leaders

  • Religious Leaders

  • Educational Leaders

  • Social Service Organizations

  • Law Enforcement

  • Youth Groups

  • Senior Citizen Groups


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Audit of Community Relations Programs

  • What programs do you have?

  • What audiences are you targeting?

  • Cost of the Programs

  • Cost Effectiveness of Programs

  • What stakeholders are you missing?

  • In your mind, what would be the next group to reach?


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Bringing Community Groups Together

  • Bring stakeholders together to explain their needs and interests

  • Neighborhood Meetings

  • Meet the Judge Programs

  • What is on your mind and how can we address it

  • LISTEN – LISTEN – LISTEN


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Target Audiences and Prioritize Programming

“You can’t do everything for everybody”


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Programming for Certain Audiences

  • Education

    • K and Elementary

    • High School

    • College

    • Courts in Schools

    • Curriculum

    • Reading

    • Adult Education


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Special Topics

  • Becoming Adults

    • Information Important to Teens

    • Rights and Responsibilities


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Special Topics

  • Issues facing Senior Citizens

    • Estate Planning

    • Health Issues

    • Long-term Care

    • Basic Probate Issues


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Using Media Without Reporters

  • Newspapers

  • Radio

  • Audio

  • Video

  • Television


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Brown County Project

  • Research

  • Assessment

  • Targeting

  • Pamphlet

  • Columns

  • Audio

  • Video

  • Website


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Working With Media

With or Without PIO


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Assessing Overall Communication Need

  • What are needs beyond Community Education and Employee Communication?

  • Positive Production of News?

  • Responding to Media Inquiries?

  • Handling Crisis Situations?

  • Overall Media Relations?

  • High Visibility Cases?


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Creating and Delivering Targeted Proactive Information

  • What stories about you court would you want to be told?

  • Who would act as spokesperson?

  • What authoritative data are available?

  • Which news entity might be more likely to publish or broadcast this information?

  • How can the information be most effectively packaged?


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“You should make things available to them because, ladies and gentlemen, the media are lazy. They need to have it on a placard. And as George Wallace used to say, you have got to put the corn down where the hogs can reach it, which means you have got to dumb it down a great deal.”Lyle Denniston


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Advantages of a PIO and gentlemen, the media are lazy. They need to have it on a placard. And as George Wallace used to say, you have got to put the corn down where the hogs can reach it, which means you have got to dumb it down a great deal.”

  • Professional handling media

  • Internal media assistance

  • Prevention of media issues

  • Protects judges and administrators

  • Crisis Manager


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Understanding the Daily Workings of the News Media and gentlemen, the media are lazy. They need to have it on a placard. And as George Wallace used to say, you have got to put the corn down where the hogs can reach it, which means you have got to dumb it down a great deal.”

  • Television = Visuals

  • Radio = Sound

  • Internet = Multimedia

  • Newspapers = Graphics

  • Deadlines

  • Media Hierarchy


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Media Plan Without PIO and gentlemen, the media are lazy. They need to have it on a placard. And as George Wallace used to say, you have got to put the corn down where the hogs can reach it, which means you have got to dumb it down a great deal.”

  • Who speaks for the court and on what issues?

  • Who, if anyone, generates positive press

  • How are media inquiries to be handled and by whom?

  • Who is in charge during a media crisis?

  • How are high visibility cases handled?


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Be AWARE of Ethics and gentlemen, the media are lazy. They need to have it on a placard. And as George Wallace used to say, you have got to put the corn down where the hogs can reach it, which means you have got to dumb it down a great deal.”

Be AWARE of Public Records Laws


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Media Interviews and gentlemen, the media are lazy. They need to have it on a placard. And as George Wallace used to say, you have got to put the corn down where the hogs can reach it, which means you have got to dumb it down a great deal.”

  • Give yourself a Miranda warning

    • You have a right to remain silent

    • Anything you say may be used…

      Caution when you SPEAK!


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Common Fears and gentlemen, the media are lazy. They need to have it on a placard. And as George Wallace used to say, you have got to put the corn down where the hogs can reach it, which means you have got to dumb it down a great deal.”

  • Public speaking is a huge fear

  • Ambushed

  • Unprepared

  • Looking stupid

  • Saying something wrong

  • Being misquoted


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Do's and Don'ts and gentlemen, the media are lazy. They need to have it on a placard. And as George Wallace used to say, you have got to put the corn down where the hogs can reach it, which means you have got to dumb it down a great deal.”

  • Do not submit to an Ambush Interview

  • Control the time and place to make you comfortable

  • Try to understand reporter’s technique

  • Gain as much control as possible

  • Know what section or broadcast


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Common Questioning Techniques and gentlemen, the media are lazy. They need to have it on a placard. And as George Wallace used to say, you have got to put the corn down where the hogs can reach it, which means you have got to dumb it down a great deal.”

  • Leading

  • Waiting Game

  • Multiple Parts

  • Negative in a Question

  • Open Ended

  • Friendly

  • Goading


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Interview Traps and gentlemen, the media are lazy. They need to have it on a placard. And as George Wallace used to say, you have got to put the corn down where the hogs can reach it, which means you have got to dumb it down a great deal.”

  • No comment = Negative

  • Off the record can be dangerous

  • Not for attribution can be worse


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Preparation and gentlemen, the media are lazy. They need to have it on a placard. And as George Wallace used to say, you have got to put the corn down where the hogs can reach it, which means you have got to dumb it down a great deal.”

  • Fact Sheet

  • Visuals

  • Note Card Bullets

  • Analogies

  • Stats ARE DEATH

  • Think in Sound Bytes

  • Clothing

  • Anticipate Negative Question


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During Interview and gentlemen, the media are lazy. They need to have it on a placard. And as George Wallace used to say, you have got to put the corn down where the hogs can reach it, which means you have got to dumb it down a great deal.”

  • Bridging is Important

  • Demeanor 70-20-10 Rule

  • Micro-Expressions

  • Self Control

  • SHORT, SHORT, SHORT

  • No sarcasm

  • No profanity


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The Interview is not over until the reporter is gone. and gentlemen, the media are lazy. They need to have it on a placard. And as George Wallace used to say, you have got to put the corn down where the hogs can reach it, which means you have got to dumb it down a great deal.”

No off hand gestures or comments.


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Communication Strategies and gentlemen, the media are lazy. They need to have it on a placard. And as George Wallace used to say, you have got to put the corn down where the hogs can reach it, which means you have got to dumb it down a great deal.”

Leadership and Program Management


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Assessing the Court’s Capacity to Communicate and gentlemen, the media are lazy. They need to have it on a placard. And as George Wallace used to say, you have got to put the corn down where the hogs can reach it, which means you have got to dumb it down a great deal.”

What Can be Done and What Cannot be Done


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Priorities and gentlemen, the media are lazy. They need to have it on a placard. And as George Wallace used to say, you have got to put the corn down where the hogs can reach it, which means you have got to dumb it down a great deal.”

  • Community Relations and Outreach

  • Public Information and Positive Press

  • Media Relations functions of the court


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Goals and Priorities and gentlemen, the media are lazy. They need to have it on a placard. And as George Wallace used to say, you have got to put the corn down where the hogs can reach it, which means you have got to dumb it down a great deal.”

  • What do you want to achieve in tangible results?

  • What are your target audiences to be reached?

  • What time constraints do you have on personnel and for the project?

  • What are your budgetary constraints?


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Biggest Bang for the $$ and gentlemen, the media are lazy. They need to have it on a placard. And as George Wallace used to say, you have got to put the corn down where the hogs can reach it, which means you have got to dumb it down a great deal.”

  • What programming give you the greatest impact for lowest cost?

  • What programming address biggest audiences

  • Targeted programming to deliver tailored messages


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Convincing Stakeholders and gentlemen, the media are lazy. They need to have it on a placard. And as George Wallace used to say, you have got to put the corn down where the hogs can reach it, which means you have got to dumb it down a great deal.”

  • To support programs

  • To utilize programming

  • To promote programming

  • To give feedback about programming


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Program Evaluation and gentlemen, the media are lazy. They need to have it on a placard. And as George Wallace used to say, you have got to put the corn down where the hogs can reach it, which means you have got to dumb it down a great deal.”

  • The need for measures of evaluation that all agree on.

  • Internal evaluation of personnel and resources

  • External Evaluation

    • Knowledge

    • Attitude


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The Key to Proper Leadership and Management of Programs is and gentlemen, the media are lazy. They need to have it on a placard. And as George Wallace used to say, you have got to put the corn down where the hogs can reach it, which means you have got to dumb it down a great deal.”FLEXIBILITY

and having the ability and capability to adjust.


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