In an effort to have more transparency between the media and the bench, around 50 of Miami Valley's judges, lawyers, enforcement officers, and reporters and editors met on Thursday to talk about local issues or questions that arise while covering court stories.
It's part of the biannual Miami Valley Bench, Bar, Media Forum that's led by Second District Court of Appeals Judge Jeffrey Froelich.
"Because there are tensions that arise between the media and the bench and the bar - whether it's sealing of a search warrant or no cameras in the courtroom or whatever, and we want to be able to discuss those as human beings and understand, we may have different approaches to how to resolve it, but we're being reasonable and rational in coming to a decision and going through the process," Judge Froelich said.
Judge Froelich said the forum also helps put a face with a name. That's something that news director Steve Diorio said is very helpful with the amount of turnover in the local media and on the bench.
"It allows you to know who you need to call, and I think by knowing who the person is you get directed to them right away. You don't have to go through staff members or go through the normal process, and it just allows us a quicker timetable, especially the news media, to get information we would need or to know where we are going to go or what we are going to do," Diorio said.
Diorio said since coming to the forums for the past three years, he's noticed how court staff and enforcement officers are more trusting of his reporters than in years past.
"I think since we started doing this everybody knows everybody has a certain job to do. Everybody respects what we have to do, and I just think that that helps us out, especially communication," Diorio said.
Judge Froelich has led the forum for more than 10 years and said other communities and states would benefit from holding similar discussions for better communication between the bench and media.