Court Community Communication:Fundamentals and Foundationsfor 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 • Communications Strategies
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?
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
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
Old Methods of Forming Opinions • 61% Newspapers and Magazines • 60% Television News • 40% Schools • 24% Television Entertainment Shows
New Method of Forming Opinions • 60% Electronically • 50% Print • 26% Television Dramas • 18% Reality Court Television
Changing Landscape • Newspapers decline 1% per year for past 18 years • Nightly newscasts declined 34 percent in last decade • Local television news declining too
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.
Why Should We Care? • Budget Connection • Constituency Building • Leverage with Other Branches • Public Trust and Confidence • Programmatic Reasons • Overall Court Functioning
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
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.
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?
Understandability Audit, con’t. • Educational Tapes • Videos • Online Multi-media • Understanding Level of Court Employees • Educational Program • Internet Course • Video Vignettes
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
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?
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
Target Audiences and Prioritize Programming “You can’t do everything for everybody”
Programming for Certain Audiences • Education • K and Elementary • High School • College • Courts in Schools • Curriculum • Reading • Adult Education
Special Topics • Becoming Adults • Information Important to Teens • Rights and Responsibilities
Special Topics • Issues facing Senior Citizens • Estate Planning • Health Issues • Long-term Care • Basic Probate Issues
Using Media Without Reporters • Newspapers • Radio • Audio • Video • Television
Brown County Project • Research • Assessment • Targeting • Pamphlet • Columns • Audio • Video • Website
Working With Media With or Without PIO
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?
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?
“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
Advantages of a PIO • Professional handling media • Internal media assistance • Prevention of media issues • Protects judges and administrators • Crisis Manager
Understanding the Daily Workings of the News Media • Television = Visuals • Radio = Sound • Internet = Multimedia • Newspapers = Graphics • Deadlines • Media Hierarchy
Media Plan Without PIO • 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?
Be AWARE of Ethics Be AWARE of Public Records Laws
Media Interviews • Give yourself a Miranda warning • You have a right to remain silent • Anything you say may be used… Caution when you SPEAK!
Common Fears • Public speaking is a huge fear • Ambushed • Unprepared • Looking stupid • Saying something wrong • Being misquoted
Do's and Don'ts • 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
Common Questioning Techniques • Leading • Waiting Game • Multiple Parts • Negative in a Question • Open Ended • Friendly • Goading
Interview Traps • No comment = Negative • Off the record can be dangerous • Not for attribution can be worse
Preparation • Fact Sheet • Visuals • Note Card Bullets • Analogies • Stats ARE DEATH • Think in Sound Bytes • Clothing • Anticipate Negative Question
During Interview • Bridging is Important • Demeanor 70-20-10 Rule • Micro-Expressions • Self Control • SHORT, SHORT, SHORT • No sarcasm • No profanity
The Interview is not over until the reporter is gone. No off hand gestures or comments.
Communication Strategies Leadership and Program Management
Assessing the Court’s Capacity to Communicate What Can be Done and What Cannot be Done
Priorities • Community Relations and Outreach • Public Information and Positive Press • Media Relations functions of the court
Goals and Priorities • 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?
Biggest Bang for the $$ • What programming give you the greatest impact for lowest cost? • What programming address biggest audiences • Targeted programming to deliver tailored messages
Convincing Stakeholders • To support programs • To utilize programming • To promote programming • To give feedback about programming
Program Evaluation • The need for measures of evaluation that all agree on. • Internal evaluation of personnel and resources • External Evaluation • Knowledge • Attitude
The Key to Proper Leadership and Management of Programs is FLEXIBILITY and having the ability and capability to adjust.