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Journalist Competition Rules

8.1 Registration and Eligibility
Each Mock Trial team may include up to two courtroom journalists competing at the same time. These students must be from the same school as the registered Mock Trial team or be a home schooled student that would have been assigned to the same school district. (See 3.1 on team eligibility.) The courtroom journalists must register with the team and be included on the Team Roster Form for the regional competition. Courtroom journalists may not double as bailiffs, timekeepers, or any other team role. Courtroom journalists are subject to all Mock Trial rules, restrictions, and eligibility requirements. Student journalist competitors will compete solely on their own efforts and will NOT be considered as part of their school’s team in terms of advancing or not advancing to the State High School Mock Trial Competition.  A note pad of the student journalist’s choice will be checked at registration to confirm that the note pad consists of blank pages throughout the pad. A submission form will be provided for completion to submit with the article upon completion. Laptops are not permitted in the court house.

8.2 Trials
Articles must describe actual courtroom presentations observed by the courtroom journalists on the competition day. Articles must be created and completed solely by the Courtroom journalists without the help of any source or person. The courtroom journalists will observe trials in which his/her school is competing at the regional level. The courtroom journalists will be allowed to sit in the jury box in front of or off to the side of the scoring judges during the trials in order to take notes, space permitting. Once the trial begins, the courtroom journalists may not move about the courtroom. The courtroom journalists may work throughout the trial rounds and during breaks. The courtroom journalists may not communicate with any member of the Mock Trial teams or any observers in the courtroom during the trials.

            Note: Journalists should obtain a copy of the list of witnesses and exhibits located in the case materials to assist them in correct spellings of names, etc.

8.3 Specifications
Article entries must be submitted on white paper that is 8.5 x 11 inches. Articles will have one inch margins on all four sides, be double spaced, and typed in 12 point Arial font.

Student journalists are responsible for ensuring their work area is left neat and orderly with all trash disposed in the appropriate trash receptacle. Student journalists must supply their own materials. A note pad of the student journalist’s choice will be checked at registration to confirm that the note pad consists of blank pages throughout the pad. Laptops are not permitted in the court house.

8.4 Judging Components
Articles will be judged on accuracy, clarity, objectivity, and style. Each component is worth up to five points. Penalties for grammar and spelling will be deducted from the total score, but may not exceed a penalty greater than ten points.

Each courtroom journalist may submit one article for judging at the regional competition. Articles must be delivered (in person, fax, or e-mail – not mailed) by the sponsoring Mock Trial teacher to the State Mock Trial Coordinator no later than 5:00 p.m. on the first Monday following the regional competition once the sponsoring Mock Trial teacher confirms the piece is a good representation of his/her school’s work. Articles received after 5:00 p.m. on the first Monday following the regional competition will be disqualified. A completed Article Submission Form must be attached to the front of the article at the time of submission. (Please e-mail for an electronic copy of the Article Submission Form prior to the competition if the article entry is to be submitted electronically.)

The State Mock Trial Coordinator will assign each article a random number and remove the Article Submission Forms. The numbered articles will be evaluated anonymously by a judging team after the regional competitions. Judges consist of attorneys, teachers, newspaper writers and editors, etc. with as many as 10+ judges.

Articles will be judged on the following criteria: accuracy, clarity, objectivity, and style. Each component is worth up to five points. Penalties for grammar and spelling will be deducted from the total store, but may not exceed a penalty greater than ten points.

The judging team will select the state winner from the regional submissions statewide. The winner of the State High School Mock Trial Courtroom Journalist Competition will be announced no earlier than five business days following the regional competition on the SC Bar Web site at www.scbar.org/lre. The winner will receive a certificate and a non-financial award to be awarded in front of his/her peers at his/her school’s awards day.

Forwarding Information:
Cynthia H. Cothran, LRE Director
SC Bar Law Related Education Division         
950 Taylor Street, Columbia, SC 29201
Phone: (803) 252-5139 / Fax: (803) 771-0419
ccothran@scbar.org

8.5 Release
All submissions in the High School Mock Trial Courtroom Journalist Competition become the property of the South Carolina Bar and may be used by the Law Related Education Division for any purpose it deems appropriate, including but not limited to reproduction and dissemination.

8.6 Submission Form
A separate Journalist Submission Form must be completed and attached by paperclip to the journal entry. There is a maximum of one entry per courtroom journalist. The Journalist Submission Form can be found in the Forms and Supporting Information Section.