Nebraska News Service Students Learn About Reporting on Nebraska’s Appellate Courts

Nebraska News Service Students Learn About Reporting on Nebraska’s Appellate Courts

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Intensive News Reporting Session Held for UNL Students During National Judicial Outreach Week – March 1-10, 2019

Supreme Court Justice Jeff Funke, Clerk of the Supreme Court Wendy Wussow, and journalist Bill Kelly spent the morning of March 8, 2019, in the Nebraska Supreme Court Chambers with Prof. Jill Martin’s undergraduate reporting students discussing the Court’s appellate-level process. The goal of the discussion was to prepare student reporters to write stories on Supreme Court opinions and arguments.

Students learned about the appellate level standard of review and assignments of error. The *State v. Duncan case was reviewed in detail showing why the hate crime statute in Nebraska applied to the case, how jury instructions are used, the concept of ineffective assistance of counsel, and excessive sentencing.  Students dutifully read briefs and watched the video of the oral argument to prepare. 

Wussow instructed the students on how to read an appellate opinion and Kelly reviewed recent important stories from Nebraska’s top court including:

  • The Keystone Pipeline project in Nebraska
  • State Regulation of sale of beer in White Clay
  • Electric chair and the cruel and unusual punishment debate
  • Gambling and what constitutes a casino or a slot machine
  • Open Records/Public Meetings Cases

The Nebraska News Service is the state government news wire service provided by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Journalism and Mass Communications. Their reporters cover a wide range of state government news, including the Nebraska Legislature, the governor's office, state agencies, decisions by Nebraska's Supreme Court, and other news stories as they arise. NNS provides news and information in the form of stories, photos, and video. Their current client list includes more than 100 newspapers throughout the state with a combined circulation exceeding 280,000, 16 radio stations and 6 television stations.

A Nebraska News Service reporter wrote the story featured on the Nebraska Judicial Branch Website: Nebraska Supreme Court Holds Oral Arguments at College:

*State v. Duncan: