HAC Media Goes To Indiana Supreme Court Trial

By Riley Piehl

Trine University's Humanities and Communications Media Team, got an offer to go sit in on a Indiana Supreme Court traveling trial on Wednesday Sept. 27 at 10 A.M. This event will be held in the T. Furth Center with approximately seventy students from Trine University's Criminal Justice Department as well as four media specialists from the HAC Media Team. 

“The argument is a civil case concerning the responsibility of businesses who serve alcohol when people they serve later injure someone else”, Indiana Supreme Court. 

This is an amazing opportunity for our students to gain experience with professional media in a real-world environment. 

HAC Media had the opportunity to speak with Sarah Kidwell, the outreach coordinator for the Indiana Supreme Court on Sept. 12 during one of their club meetings. Kidwell explained to the group about what the day will look like and expectations to have as well as do’s and don'ts in a courtroom. She further explained what her day-to-day position looks like from an office standpoint. This included looking for different counties for the two traveling cases that happen every year, running live feed for the courtroom, sending out media events that are happening with the court, writing press releases, assisting in meeting agendas, and handling media questions from outside sources. It was very insightful for HAC Media to hear what a media specialist in that career would look like so they have a more well rounded experience with different fields when looking for future careers.  

The meeting then went into an open Q&A session from the team, and the Editor-in-Chief, Haylee Richards asked a few questions;“Is there any advice for a journalist covering an event like this?” Richards asked.  

Some of the tips Kidwell gave were not to be shy and to move around if you are a photographer. She also suggested to ask the professional media questions because they are there to help. This was very helpful to hear from someone that has been in our same position reiterate what we are allowed to do and how to be successful as a media specialist in this environment. It put the HAC team at ease hearing her speak on what the day will bring to them in their positions.  

Another question Richards asked was,“How has the evolution of decorum guidelines changed and how are these rules decided?”  

Kidwell went on to explain that the guidelines for traveling arguments and arguments in the courtroom have very different rules.  

“The main changes I’ve seen in the rules has been with the evolution of technology,” Kidwell said. One of the main differences was, “There is no longer a need for the media to be in the courtroom due to technology being installed at a higher and clearer angle than what a photographer would be able to get.” 

It is more common for photographers to be used in traveling arguments due to there not being equipment installed but it is difficult obtaining good pictures with different types of settings and lighting. For the team, there is an opportunity for multiple photographers to take photos during the live Q&A session that will be held after the preceding and photographers are allowed to get up and move around.  

Another decorum change is when the media started typing their notes with laptops instead of writing them out, so the media now have to sit in the very back row of the courtroom while taking notes on laptops. These were a few of the changes that have occurred throughout Kidwell’s time in her position. 

Richards and the HAC team had an amazing call with Kidwell and the information the students received from her was very helpful and insightful. The team of students are ready to conquer the courtroom and are excited to be involved in this opportunity.  Thank you to Sarah Kidwell for answering HAC Media’s questions and allowing them to participate in this incredible opportunity!