Project Proposal: Supreme Court Podcast

For everyone who does not know me, I am a massive Supreme Court nerd. I love learning about the American legal system and how it changes over time. However, I find one of the biggest problems with learning about the high court is that the decisions are dense. Let’s face it, it is not light reading by any definition. So what I propose to do for my digital project is to do a series of podcasts about major Supreme Court decisions. The idea is to deliver old information in a new format (an audio format rather than a written one), using a new delivery system (a blog on the internet), and to do it in a more approachable manner. The idea of the podcast is that each one would be around five minutes in length, and cover the background information of the case, the decision and its impact on American history.  The goal of the site would to be to provide introductory level education on any specific cases that I would be doing. For the sake of limiting my work load, I would be aiming for one podcast per week each week following Spring Break for a total of seven. For this reason, I will be picking some the most important cases and subject in Supreme Court history, but also try to include some of the less well known or less discussed cases that also had a big impact in United States history, for the sake of accomplishing my goal of education.

There are a couple of web site out there currently that are meant to present a  brief form of Supreme Court history (Oyez.org in particular), but I plan on doing things differently in a couple of ways. First of all, I am planning going to present my information in a audio format to try an accommodate people who prefer learning by hearing rather than reading. Second, I am planning to provide more background and history to each case. Oyez.org is very good at providing people with the most necessary of information, but the site’s brevity can be annoying occasionally, especially because they are much more focused on the legal portion of the decision. My focus would be more on the history of the court as well as what impact individual decisions had. If I had to form a mission statement of what I am trying to teach, it would probably be that I want show people that the court does not exist in a bubble and that its decisions come from somewhere and have some effect. I want to show this in a brief, approachable manner. To provide a morsel of information to get people interested about Supreme Court history and show them other places where they can find more information.

If I had to pick an audience for my project, it would probably just be people who are interested in the court and American history, but do not really know where to go to find out more information.

My personal measure for this to be a success, beyond just keeping to a regular update schedule, would be getting at least 5 people to download my podcasts and hopefully to get them to discuss with me whether or not I helped them.

There are a couple of web site out there currently that are meant to present a  brief form of Supreme Court history (Oyez.org in particular), but I plan on doing things differently in a couple of ways. First of all, I am planning going to present my information in a audio format to try an accommodate people who prefer learning by hearing rather than reading. Second, I am planning to provide more background and history to each case. Oyez.org is very good at providing people with the most necessary of information, but the site’s brevity can be annoying occasionally, especially because they are much more focused on the legal portion of the decision. My focus would be more on the history of the court as well as what impact individual decisions had. If I had to form a mission statement of what I am trying to teach, it would probably be that I want show people that the court does not exist in a bubble and that its decisions come from somewhere and have some effect. I want to show this in a brief, approachable manner. To provide a morsel of information to get people interested about Supreme Court history and show them other places where they can find more information.

My personal measure for this to be a success, beyond just keeping to a regular update schedule, would be getting at least 5 people to download my podcasts and hopefully to get them to discuss with me whether or not I helped them.

2 Replies to “Project Proposal: Supreme Court Podcast”

  1. This would be a great idea if you can keep it going. There is a huge hole in our country's political coverage of the Court's actions. Usually it gets no notice whatsoever unless there is a particularly lively or violent demonstration outside the building.

  2. I am glad to see you thinking about a podcast! I think you could get a lot of traction with this sort of thing. I think you have done a great job at articulating your goals and I think the modest goal of getting 5 people to download the podcast is a great start.

    On a technical level, I would like to hear a bit more about what the content of the podcasts will be. Are you going to do interviews? Are you going to tell stories? Are you going to include bits of justices speeches or coverage of the decisions from old radio programs? Further, have you thought about how long you would plan on making these? I would imagine that a manageable length would be something like 5-10 minutes. In any event, you would want to make them consistant.

    If you wanted to you could even think about doing this as a call in show. Take a quick look at http://www.talkshoe.com/ If I remember right they will let people call into a broadcast. If you did this you would want to think of a way to get a guest to show up or something and then you would want to make sure you had prepped some people to call in but it could be a cool way to do it.

    In short, this is a really cool idea. Good topic. It's clear that you know what your talking about. You have a solid goal. Working with a podcast is a cool approach. At this point you just need to nail down the content a little bit, come up with what exactly compelling audio content is going to be and I think you will have this locked up.

Leave a Reply to tjowens Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *