First Amendment and Media Access in Wisconsin Court

As a reporter, do you have absolute right of access to a crime scene?  What do you do if a police officer tells you to leave a crime or emergency scene?

Can you say anything you want about a public figure, because you’re a reporter or a talk show host?  Who is, and who is not, a public figure?

Can you secretly record a conversation, and then use it, or part of it, in a story or on the air?

Can you refuse to testify about who your sources are on a story, or how you got the information you used in a story?  Are your notes and out-takes protected by law in any way?

What is intellectual property, and how is it protected in Wisconsin?

These are some of the many questions you need to know the answers to, to be a competent reporter.  This section of the WBA Newsroom will answer every one of these questions and more, and will help you get quickly up to speed on the Wisconsin laws involving media access, and give you a “refresher course” on First Amendment rights of reporters, private citizens, and public figures.

The Radio-TV Digital News Association has a great guide to each state’s rules regarding cameras in courtrooms, and you can find it here.