6-1 Discussion: Make Your Case: Cameras in the Courtroom

The U.S. Supreme Court has long upheld the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which allows public trials. Furthermore, in 1980, in a 7-to-1 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Richmond Newspapers, Inc. v. Virginia that the First Amendment provides the press a right to attend criminal trials, although it is not an absolute right. Earlier cases spoke of the press in a general sense and did not discuss the medium used by the press.

Ten years later, in 1990, Pamela Smart’s criminal trial was the first trial to be televised live, opening the door to broadcasting O.J. Simpson’s trial four years later in California. Similarly to earlier cases, the press sensationalized both of these cases.

U.S. federal district courts operate differently from many state courts regarding cameras in the courtroom. With the exception of limited civil proceedings such as naturalization ceremonies and appellate proceedings in two jurisdictions, “the media may not photograph, videotape or record live federal court proceedings” (United States Courts, n.d.). A recent case that underscores this point was the 2019 college admissions bribery scandal. All media photos, interviews, and reporting were accomplished outside of the courthouse.

Take a position. Should news cameras be allowed in the courtroom during criminal trials?

First, title your post either “News cameras should be allowed in the courtroom during criminal trials” or “News cameras should not be allowed in the courtroom during criminal trials.” Then, using the information gained in this module, make your case. Any sources should be cited according to APA style. Answer the following questions to support your stance:

  • What may be the effects of cameras being allowed in the courtroom during criminal trials? Consider both positive and negative effects.
  • What are the exceptions, if any, to allowing cameras in the courtroom during criminal trials?

In your response to your peers, consider how well they justified their positions, making use of available resources. Consider the following questions in your response posts:

  • Did they support their position convincingly using appropriate resources?
  • Which of their points make the most sense to you, even if you made a case for the opposing viewpoint?


Richmond Newspapers, Inc. v. Virginia, 448 U.S. 555 (1980).United States Courts. (n.d.). Federal court: Media basics Journalist’s guide. https://www.uscourts.gov/statistics-reports/federal-court-media-basics-journalists-guide

To complete this assignment, review the .