The High Council of Justice, with support from the USAID New Justice Program, held a communications training for court public information officers from courts of various instances and jurisdictions. The training was intended to raise the trainees’ awareness of the importance of strategic communications and improve their skills in managing communications in crisis situations.
The trainees learned a successful American experience of efficient cooperation with media from Leah Gurowitz, an expert of the USAID New Justice Program and Director of Media and Public Relations, Washington D.C. courts. The discussion concerned coverage of high-profile cases, use of the social media for better targeting of the audience, and planning of public education events administered by courts and public outreach campaigns.
“Think what’s interesting to the public, then what’s interesting to media, not what’s interesting to judges the expert emphasized the importance of planning the information work of the courts. “It’s important for courts to have a strategy how to get heard, to stand out of the crowd, and also to have the idea how news spread when it comes to the different media.”
Leah Gurowitz has 30 years of experience in outreach and coordination of court events and advising public figures on media events and public relations opportunities. Ms. Gurowitz is serving as a Spokesperson for the D.C. courts with national and local media for high profile cases and for positive stories. She also manages the Courts’ news website and established the Courts’ presence on social media.
Oksana Lysenko, Head of Press-Center of the Judiciary, who took part in the International Conference of Court Public Information Officers recently, underscored the similarity of professional tasks faced by Ukrainian and American counterparts responsible for court communications.
“In the USA, court public information officers take on the same challenges you do. So, feel free to ask questions to the expert and take part in the discussion,” encouraged Oksana Lysenko her colleagues.
The trainees discussed openness as a principle of building up the court reputation and tools for preventing reputational risks in the question-and-answer format. Besides, court public information officers received practical advice on how to prepare judges for an interview and to write good press announcements and press releases in an easy to understand language. As part of completing a practical assignment, the trainees developed an action plan to be used in typical crisis situations in courts. The received recommendations will help them to raise public trust in courts.