The Reynolds National Center for Courts and Media publishes two helpful guides called "Initiating and Maintaining a Constructive Dialogue" and "Tools for Judges and Court Personnel to Deal with the Media."
Indiana Judicial Center
Community Relations Committee
The Indiana Supreme Court launched the "Fire Brigade" in 2003 to help resolve issues that develop between the courts and the news media. It is modeled after a unique program that originated in the State of Washington to protect the rights to fair trial and a free press.
What is the Fire Brigade?
The Fire Brigade is a subset of the Indiana Judicial Advisory Committee on Media Relations. The Fire Brigade consists of a small group of Indiana trial judges from various regions of the state who are available to consult confidentially with judges who have concerns with the media, and journalists who have questions about judicial actions.
Why do we need a Fire Brigade?
The purpose of the Fire Brigade is to put out smoldering problems between judges and the media before they become raging infernos. Overall, its mission is the improvement of bench-media relations by creating better communication at crucial times.
When do I call the Fire Brigade?
Does the Fire Brigade get involved when the media files motions in court?
No. The Fire Brigade is only an informal method to resolve misunderstandings or disputes. Some issues are appropriate for litigation (gag orders already issued, high-profile case procedures, etc). The Fire Brigade is available to help resolve issues to avoid the need for litigation or news coverage of a bench/media dispute.
How do I contact the Fire Brigade?
Call the Indiana Judicial Center at 317-232-1313. The Judicial Center staff will direct your call to a member of the Fire Brigade, who will contact you to discuss the issue. Questions can usually be answered quickly. All discussions are informal, off-the-record, confidential and non-binding.
Fire Brigade Members