May 4, 2015

Reporters Committee Announces New Apps for Legal Guidance, Reporting Resources

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, INN’s partner for media law resources and pro bono assistance, recently introduced three new, free mobile apps that INN members likely will find indispensable in the field, both for on-demand legal guidance and for the reporting resource, StoryBase.

Each app is designed to address the legal questions a reporter may have on a specific topic. They are: Covering Cops and Courts; Covering Schools; and Recording Guide, which offers guidance on state laws regarding audio and video recording in public places. Each app includes a Legal Guide and the ability to post directly to social media. The apps are available for download at

The StoryBase feature, which is included on each of the three new apps, gives reporters the ability to collect notes, links, video and audio recordings, photos, contacts and locations. Users can export that information to another device or computer when it’s time to write and file the story.

These apps join the Reporters Committee’s First Aid app, released in 2012, providing a full range of media law resources when journalists need them. The new apps were funded by a grant from the Gannett Foundation. First Aid was funded by support from the Stanton Foundation.

In January, the Reporters Committee and INN announced a partnership designed to connect INN members with the First Amendment, newsgathering, and other free media law resources and guidance developed by Reporters Committee attorneys.

Katie Townsend, litigation director for the Reporters Committee, also will be on a panel June 4 at INN Day at the IRE Conference to discuss FOIs, pro bono representation and other legal matters for nonprofit newsrooms.

In addition to the mobile resources, these resources available to INN members  include:

  • the system for filing and tracking state and federal FOIA requests;
  • comprehensive media law guides such as the 50-state and Federal Open Government Guides;
  • related news online and in its quarterly ePub The News Media & The Law;
  • and the phone and email hotline monitored 24/7 by Reporters Committee attorneys to help journalists in need.

Reporters Committee attorneys also may assist INN members with legal defense and media law litigation, including freedom of information and access to court matters.