Twitter Facebook Google Plus Pinterest Storify
Society of Professional Journalists
Improving and protecting journalism since 1909

Advertise with SPJ

News and More
Click to Expand Instantly

SPJ News
Events and Deadlines
SPJ Blogs
Quill Online
Journalist's Toolbox

Stay in Touch
Twitter Storify Facebook Google Plus
RSS Pinterest Pinterest Flickr

More SPJ News
Press Notes
SPJ Blogs
SPJ Leads
The EIJ News
Press Notes
SPJ News
Open Doors
Geneva Conventions
Annual FOI Reports

Home > SPJ News > SPJ member pioneers use of Twitter in federal court

SPJ News
Latest SPJ News | RSS

SPJ member pioneers use of Twitter in federal court



INDIANAPOLIS – As courts adapt to new technology, Ron Sylvester, an active SPJ member and committee volunteer, is blazing a trail for legal reporting by using Twitter from inside a federal courtroom.

The Wichita Eagle reporter has been using Twitter, the Web-based instant messaging service for computers and cell phones, to send immediate updates to followers about a federal racketeering gang trial in Kansas. U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten is allowing Sylvester to send real-time updates – called “tweets” – from inside the courtroom.

Associated Press reporter Roxana Hegeman wrote about Sylvester’s “tweeting” and its newcomer status in federal court:

“It's not the first time online streaming has been allowed in courtrooms, but the practice is still rare in the federal system, especially in criminal cases. … Sylvester has been using Twitter for a year to cover hearings and trials in state courts, but the racketeering trial of six Crips gang defendants that he's covering online this week is his first in federal court.”

Sylvester is vice chair of the SPJ digital media committee, which helps journalists adapt to evolving media technology. He was formerly SPJ Region 7 director, a volunteer board position with oversight of Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri.

The AP story referenced above is here. Those with a free Twitter account can follow his updates at

Copyright © 1996-2015 Society of Professional Journalists. All Rights Reserved. Legal

Society of Professional Journalists
Eugene S. Pulliam National Journalism Center
3909 N. Meridian St.
Indianapolis, IN 46208
317/927-8000 | Fax: 317/920-4789

Contact SPJ Headquarters
Employment Opportunities
Advertise with SPJ