Loyal OpenCourt viewers, you’ve by this time noticed we haven’t been live-streaming as often. We’re sorry to disappoint you — but very glad for your interest, as always. OpenCourt is entering a phase of transition, and our efforts have pulled us away from court more frequently than usual.
Firstly (get your Kleenexes ready), I will be leaving OpenCourt soon to work on a new project for which I won a Localore public radio grant. While I’m excited about my new direction, it is with sadness that I leave the court and this important project which still has so much space to continue blooming.
As my transition dovetails with OpenCourt director Joe Spurr’s plans to be away the second half of February, we’ll be taking our own recess from streaming for the remainder of the month. When OpenCourt returns in early March, emphasis may gradually shift away from streaming the First Session, which has been our focus for the past nine months.
Since the outset, Quincy District Court was always meant to be a test-bed to discover new ways to cover the court system, and we’re taking steps towards the next phase of expansion. We have an opportunity to install a multi-camera, auto-switching video system into a second courtroom at QDC, and are exploring that option having broached the topic with our advisory board at the most recent media judiciary committee meeting, and plan to discuss the topic in early march with the Quincy Court working group.
The new setup could provide a more dynamic view of the courtroom than our stationary camera and allow you to follow hearings beyond arraignments. To witness pre-trial conferences and trials would give a much fuller sense of the business of the court, which we and many of our viewers have wanted for some time.
Having maintained a daily live stream for this duration is something we are proud of, and we’re glad that so many of you out there have watched along with us and learned about the court. But live-streaming also takes a lot of resources, both overhead and time, so it makes sense to pull back for the time being as we adjust to staffing changes and explore new options to expand the project.
We’ve also gathered so much video footage over the course of a year and are working towards using that data in a more compelling way, specifically through software and civic education. We are planning to integrate new tools on the site as well as partnering with a local non-profit to weave OpenCourt footage into local middle school curriculums.
We — or Joe at least — will still be blogging and active on Twitter and Facebook as we transition, so keep an eye peeled there at the beginning of March to see what’s next, or just wait for an email from us if you’re already signed up for the newsletter. Don’t use any of those things? Got a suggestion? Call or email us.
Thank you so much for contributing your attention and ideas and being a part of this project. It’s been great to know you’ve been out there watching and communicating with us. We couldn’t have done what we have without you, and OpenCourt will need you again as it works to serve the public in a new capacity. See you soon.
A version of this post first appeared on the OpenCourt blog.