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Cameras In Court Transmit Live Video To U. Nebraska Colleges

This story was written by Alissa Skelton, Daily Nebraskan

Over the summer, video cameras were installed in two Lancaster County District courtrooms for media and educational purposes.

Judges Steven Burns and Karen Flowers agreed to have the cameras on continuous video and audio feed to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's law and journalism colleges.

The Nebraska Broadcast Association funded the majority of the project.

"The idea is to try and provide a better way for future journalists and attorneys to understand this public information process," said Larry Walklin, a broadcasting professor at UNL.

The College of Journalism and Mass Communication has three small televisions set up to view different angles of each courtroom.

Footage was used in John Bender's Mass Media Law class this summer. Walkin said footage will also be used in reporting classes this fall.

This is the first time cameras have been allowed in Nebraska courtrooms of original jurisdiction. The only cases excluded are juvenile, custody and domestic cases.

Cameras have been allowed in Nebraska Supreme Courts since 1982 and the Court of Appeals since 1991. Twelve states do not allow cameras in courtrooms.

The cameras are placed in a security globe, and are not bothersome, Burns said. Signs are posted in the courtrooms to let everyone know the cameras are there

"I nor Judge Flowers have seen any change at all in the behavior of people," Burns said.

Burns said he thinks the cameras will be beneficial.

"It's liking having another chair in the courtroom," he said, " and it is going to help educate students on courtroom activities."