Reporting on the legal system without a law degree can be challenging. A team of Loyola Law School professors aimed to fix that by writing The Journalist's Guide to American Law. The book, published by Routledge and released on Monday, Dec. 10, serves as an essential reference for journalists whose coverage area includes the law. The authors are Professors John Nockleby, Laurie Levenson, Karl Manheim, Jay Dougherty, Dean Victor Gold, Allan Ides and Daniel Martin.
From the publisher:
> How do you report on the latest sensational criminal trial or newest controversial legislation without a basic understanding of how the American legal system works?
> This easy-to-use guidebook offers an overview of American law that should be found on the desk of any journalism student or professional journalist. It provides an overview of major legal principles and issues in simple terms for journalists who cover any aspect of the legal system. The Guide can be used in two ways: first, as a sit-down read that gives an overview of American law; and second, as a reference that can be used every day under deadline pressure for a specific purpose. Every feature of the book is designed to serve both functions. Thus, the book's organization captures both the birds-eye view of a subject; and, alternatively, permits a quick review of a given section when the professional needs to understand a distinct concept. The areas covered range from professional concerns such as the First Amendment, cameras in the courtroom, Sunshine laws, and access to government documents to general legal matters such as the institutions of law and lawmaking function of the judiciary; core constitutional principles such as separation of powers and judicial review; and how courts function.
> The book is ideal for use in general newswriting and reporting courses, particularly those with a focus on legal or court reporting, and may also be used as a supplementary text in Media Law courses.