Each fall, The Florida Bar Media and Communications Law Committee presents a two-day event for print, TV, radio and online journalists new to the courts and legal beats or new to Florida. Topics include: covering high-profile cases, public records and Florida’s open government laws, libel law and defamation, lawyer regulation, and other current and relevant issues surrounding legal reporting. Reporters secure one of the available workshop slots through nominations from editors, news directors or publishers. For more than a decade, the Florida Supreme Court has hosted workshop sessions, and a highlight of the event is the reception and dinner with the justices on the 22nd floor of the Capitol. Scholarships cover the cost of lodging and meals for the reporters.
The 29th Annual Florida Bar Reporters’ Workshop will be held in Tallahassee on Sept. 24-25, 2018.
For more information, email [email protected].
2017 Reporters’ Workshop
The 28th Annual Florida Bar Reporters’ Workshop was held in Tallahassee on Oct. 16-17, 2017.
2016 Reporters’ Workshop
Twenty-three reporters from across Florida participated in the Reporters’ Workshop, Sept. 19-20. Reporters took part in engaging sessions backed up by materials supplied by the attorneys and journalists participating. A high point is always the dinner with participants and Supreme Court justices. The agenda and materials for the sessions are posted at 2016 Reporters’ Workshop Notebook.
Tradition says that, after breakfast on the first day, participants
|Florida Bar President William J. Schifino, Jr. spoke with the reporters about constitutional revision, during a Benchmarks presentation with Annette Boyd Pitts.|
|Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente talked about judicial merit retention, drawing on her personal experiences in 2012.|
|From left, University of South Florida Professor Susan MacManus, longtime reporter/columnist Bill Cotterell and reporter/moderator Gina Jordan engaged reporters in a discussion of ‘Covering Florida – The Nation’s Ground Zero for Voting Controversy.’ Leon County Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho also was on the panel.|
Tom Julin of Gunster Yoakley & Stewart P.A. wove a
|With discussions, handouts and web resources, reporters had plenty to keep them busy at the workshop.|
|Martin A. Dyckman, winner of the inaugural Susan
Spencer-Wendel Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015,
returned in 2016 for a lunchtime session on the Supreme
Court scandal that led to Florida’s current system of
judicial merit selection and retention.
|Chief Justice Jorge Labarga got in the last word with his ‘View from the Bench,’ the final presentation on the second day of the 2016 Reporters’ Workshop.|
Journalists were honored Sept. 19, 2016, at the 61st Annual Florida Bar Media Awards, which take place each year in conjunction with the Reporters’ Workshop. The event was held on the 22nd floor of the Capitol, with Chief Justice Jorge Labarga and several other justices among the attendees. The awards, sponsored by The Florida Bar’s Media & Communications Law Committee, recognize outstanding journalism highlighting the system of law and justice as it affects Floridians.
|Gloria Gomez of WTVT Fox 13 News in Tampa accepted the first-place honor in the Television category from Florida Bar President William J. Schifino, Jr. (left) and Errol H. Powell (right), chair of the Bar’s Media & Communications Law Committee. Gomez investigated the issue of innocent people being sent to jail based on bad drug tests.||Frank Fernandez of the Daytona Beach News-Journal accepted the first-place in Print award from Florida Bar President William J. Schifino, Jr. (left) and Errol H. Powell (right), chair of the Bar’s Media & Communications Law Committee. Skyler Swisher of the News-Journal also was on the award-winning team. Their report looked at the legal ramifications of officer-involved shootings in Florida.|
|Wilson Sayre of WLRN News 91.3 FM in Miami – who, by the way, also was a participant in this year’s Reporters’ Workshop – accepted the first-place in Radio plaque from Florida Bar President William J. Schifino, Jr. (left) and Errol H. Powell (right), chair of the Bar’s Media & Communications Law Committee. Her project, “How a Tourist Murder Changed Juvenile Sentencing in Florida,’ included nearly two months of research and interviews.||Noah Pransky of WTSP-TV 10 News in St. Petersburg received the second-place in Television plaque from Florida Bar President William J. Schifino, Jr. (left) and Errol H. Powell (right), chair of the Bar’s Media & Communications Law Committee. A six-month investigation exposed how the city of St. Petersburg used misleading signs and poor engineering to issue millions of dollars in school zone speeding tickets.|
|Sallie James, a friend of reporter Julie Kay for 30 years and a former colleague, accepted the Susan Spencer-Wendel Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of Kay from Florida Bar President William J. Schifino, Jr. (left) and Errol H. Powell (right), chair of the Bar’s Media & Communications Law Committee. The award was presented posthumously to Kay, a veteran award-winning journalist who covered the courts and law in Florida for nearly 30 years, most recently as a reporter for the Daily Business Review. Kay died in August of cancer.|
2015 Reporters’ Workshop
Photos from the 2015 workshop, taken from tweets by The Florida Bar’s Danny Aller and the participants.
|It’s Monday, Oct. 12, 2015. Looking fresh and ready at the start of Day 1, the 24 participants in the annual Florida Bar Reporters’ Workshop pause for a team photo on the steps of the Florida Supreme Court.||The reporters and a few other observers make their way to the Supreme Court after breakfast at Andrew’s on the first day.|
|The second-day panel on “Public records: How to get the records you need” is always popular. This year, the panel was a strong one, with, from left, Gary Fineout of The Associated Press ; Sandra Chance, executive director of the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information; moderator Pat Gleason, special counsel for open government in the Office of the Attorney General; Mike Vasilinda of Capitol News Service; and Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times Capital Bureau.|
|Chuck Rabin of The Miami Herald took some good-natured ribbing as a “legend” among the many young reporters at the workshop.|
|Annette Boyd Pitts of the Florida Law Related Education Association offered an interesting and interactive case study based on the Fourth Amendment.||Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente spoke to the reporters about judicial merit retention in Florida.|
|OK, we had to get in one photo of Brinkley, the service dog in training that accompanied Jared Leone. Brinkley was on his best behavior, at least when he wasn’t trying to steal a kiss from Fox 13 Tampa reporter Tina Jensen.|
EDITORS: Please note The Florida Bar is not an association and ‘Association’ is not part of our name. Proper reference is ‘The Florida Bar.’ Local bar organizations are properly termed ‘associations.’