eNews – where it’s been and where it’s going

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For the last 33 months the Provincial Court of BC has posted an eNews article on its website every week. That’s a total of 142 short news articles on a wide range of topics related to the Court’s work, its judicial officers’ activities, initiatives that help people resolve disputes or navigate the justice system, and efforts to improve the system!

Today we reveal the top ten eNews articles since the series began on January 12, 2015, and share our plans for the future.

In January 2015 the Court decided to post short weekly news articles on its website as a way to share information about judicial officers and their work that the public wouldn’t learn otherwise. We also wanted to keep the Court’s recently updated website fresh, active and interesting.

It’s been a collaborative effort. Judge Ann Rounthwaite, then a Senior Judge, (now retired and serving as the Court’s Digital Communications Co-ordinator), undertook to write and/or edit the articles. But the enthusiastic support of judges, judicial justices, Court staff and judicial interns has been an essential ingredient to the success of eNews. Many have contributed articles, suggested topics, agreed to be interviewed, provided information and photos, or reviewed drafts, as have representatives of groups working in the justice system. Of the top ten most-read eNews articles to date, four were contributed by judges or staff members, as were the ideas for another two.

The results have been satisfying. As of October 9, 2017, eNews pages had received 59,423 page views. The articles appear to attract readers from around the world, including from the US, UK, India, Australia, and the Netherlands. eNews articles have generated items in online and print media, within BC, nationally, and even internationally.

Readers can subscribe to receive an email notice each time an eNews is posted. Because our audience is varied, and includes members of the public, judges, lawyers, court staff, and others working within or interested in the justice system, different articles appeal to different people. The subscription service allows subscribers to read the articles that interest them and ignore any that don’t. There are currently 496 eNews subscribers.

Top Ten List

What are the top ten eNews articles to date? You may be surprised.

There are no 2015 articles in the top ten list, probably because eNews readership has grown over the years. While 2015 articles on topics like the use of Canine Assisted Intervention Dogs to support witnesses and judges’ accounts of their travel to circuit courts in remote locations were popular at the time, they haven’t made the list.

In ascending order, the ten most frequently read eNews articles are:

#10 Can judges use their personal knowledge when deciding cases? 16/02/2016
#9 How should I conduct myself when I appear in front of a Judicial Case Manager? 01/11/2016
#8 Judge’s appointment makes news around the world 24/01/2017
#7 Mother and daughter judges on BC Provincial Court! 07/02/2017
#6 Enforcement of Maintenance Orders in Provincial Court 13/09/2016
#5 Where does the coat of arms in BC courtrooms come from? What does it mean? 22/03/2016
#4 BC Provincial Court adopts Support Person Guidelines 11/04/2017
#3 What can I expect at a Small Claims Settlement Conference? 11/10/2016
#2 Can evidence of a polygraph test be used in court? 10/05/2016
#1 And the top most-read eNews article of all time, with 4,405 page views to date, is:

Who knew there was so much interest in the polygraph!

The numbers may change over time – more recently published articles have had a shorter period of exposure. The list shows that articles explaining law and procedure have had ‘legs’ – website visitors have viewed them in the months after their publication because they add to the information about family, civil and criminal Provincial Court matters available on the site.

The Future

Where will the Court go with eNews from here? We’ll continue to post articles on the website on Tuesdays, but not necessarily every Tuesday. A somewhat more relaxed publication schedule will allow more time for the Court’s other communications activities. eNews will be published at least bi-weekly, and in intervening weeks as well when “breaking news” demands it.

We’ll continue the mix of information about what to expect in court, help for people going to court, surprising aspects of judges’ lives, and initiatives attempting to improve the justice system and make it more accessible.

We’d welcome suggestions from readers about topics or questions that interest them – send your suggestions by fax to (604) 660-1108 or tweet them to @BCProvCourt. We’ll try to produce articles on popular subjects, but can’t deal with specific legal issues.

And if you haven’t subscribed yet, you can do it here – and push us over the 500 mark!