Reporting Live: How a Law Degree Enhanced My Journalism Career

It was the day before New Year’s Eve, and my assignment was in Montgomery County. I spent the morning with a reporter from the Associated Press waiting in the lobby of the Magisterial District Court in Elkins Park. We were both there for the same reason: Bill Cosby. One of my colleagues at NBC10 had received a tip that the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office would be announcing a decision on whether to bring charges related to an alleged sex assault involving Cosby and a former Temple University employee in 2004. The statute of limitations was just days away from expiring.

By mid-morning the charge of indecent aggravated assault was filed, and I began pouring over the affidavit of probable cause. By the afternoon, I had staked out a seat in the small courtroom for Cosby’s arraignment. Outside a throng of local and national media crowded every entrance of the building. The hearing was brief but significant. The 78-year old comedian, who is facing dozens of similar allegations of abuse, was being charged for the first time with a crime, specifically, a second-degree felony. Team coverage of the case dominated the NBC10 newscasts into the evening, and my work didn’t stop there. I continued my reporting on MSNBC, waking up the next morning at three o’clock to meet a network crew near Cosby’s Cheltenham estate for live reports throughout the day. On MSNBC, I discussed the terms of his bail and the importance of the previously settled civil case involving the Temple employee.

I’ve been a broadcast news reporter and anchor for over a decade, regularly covering politics, criminal cases, and high-profile legal matters. Though, it wasn’t until I became a student at Temple Law School that I had a complete grasp and appreciation of the law.

It was a story that seemed to bring all of my different worlds together at once.  I’ve been a broadcast news reporter and anchor for over a decade, regularly covering politics, criminal cases, and high-profile legal matters.  Though, it wasn’t until I became a student at Temple Law School that I had a complete grasp and appreciation of the law. I was motivated to go to law school because I hoped it would enhance and broaden my skills as a reporter; I believe it did. The professors at Temple always incorporated current events into their lectures, giving real-world examples of the law in action. I often left class applying what I had learned that day to what I was reporting on that night.

I certainly drew on my Temple Law education when I covered Cosby in late December. Not only was I able to discuss in detail what’s next in the case, but also the reasons behind the criminal charge. According to prosecutors, Cosby’s unsealed deposition from the civil case involving the Temple employee is what led to the charge. Cosby’s attorneys say it’s a political maneuver.

For me, this case has truly tapped into the journalistic principle of reporting the news with fairness and without bias. As a proud, new alumna of Temple Law, I’ve witnessed Cosby’s impact on campus. This is a story that has deep implications, but it’s a story that has to be told whether the outcome vindicates the victim or clears Cosby’s name. As I follow the next steps in this case, I’ll be using my legal education as an important tool to deliver accurate and comprehensive reports.

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