Communications - Annual Report 2010
Public Website Redesign
In May 2010, the Judiciary launched a redesigned version of its external website, uscourts.gov. The website overhaul makes uscourts.gov more attractive, accessible, and useful to its diverse audience of users. The improvements further the website's mission of increasing public interest, awareness, and understanding of the federal court system and its functions, and serve as a source for disseminating federal Judiciary information to the public.
Uscourts.gov is a primary source of information on the structure, function, and operations of the federal courts. It plays an important role in how the Judiciary communicates to the public, with useful and timely information for students, news media, attorneys, academics, government officials, associations, and others—both in the United States and worldwide. Redesign of the site included a new look and feel for the Judiciary's official newsletter, The Third Branch and for the public newsroom, Inside the Judiciary.
Federal Judiciary YouTube Channel
An official YouTube channel, the Federal Judiciary Channel (youtube.com/uscourts), was launched with the redesigned uscourts.gov. The channel, a joint initiative of the Administrative Office and the Federal Judicial Center, helps reach new audiences with educational, instructional, and recruitment videos produced by the Judiciary. Videos made available during FY 2010 included the "Court Shorts" series explaining to high school students what the courts do, Bankruptcy Basics, an overview of bankruptcy filing procedures, and career videos that feature court employees explaining what it is like to work in various jobs for the Federal Judiciary.
Staff completed more than 90 videos in FY2010 that covered a variety of news and educational topics for Judiciary employees, the public, and Congress. Most of these products were released as "streaming" programs for desktop viewing via the Judiciary's public website, uscourts.gov, its new YouTube channel, or the Judiciary's intranet. Others were broadcast on the Judiciary's closed-circuit satellite network, the Federal Judicial Television Network (FJTN), distributed in DVD packages, or produced as live webcasts for targeted Judiciary audiences. Several AO videos won prestigious Telly Awards this past year.
Community and Educational Outreach
The Judiciary's civic education programs, connecting local federal courts to their communities, enhanced their online presence this year when the Educational Resources web page was redesigned as part of the new uscourts.gov. Lively podcasts and multimedia resources are immediately ready for courtrooms and classrooms.
J-Net is the intranet site the Administrative Office maintains and operates for use by the courts. The site is a resource for reference materials, such as Judiciary policies and guidance. It also informs court staff about key developments through the redesigned news area, and offers a forum for users to comment on draft policies and procedures. This past year the AO began a pilot to allow users to perform a search at one central location on the J-Net and obtain results from more than 60 court internal websites. This feature will be expanded to all internal Judiciary sites in 2011. During FY 2010, the AO began offering J-Net users the option to receive email alerts about postings of new legislative information of interest to them.