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Court Reporting (Southern African)

Report court cases like a pro with Carmel Rickard

The courtroom is one of the first places you might be sent as a junior reporter, but it’s also one of the toughest types of reporting to get right, with the highest stakes. Mistakes made when reporting from court will cost you and your company, potentially leading to lawsuits, press code complaints, fines and even imprisonment. But you don’t have to learn these lessons the hard way. Tap into the experience of veteran court reporter, Carmel Rickard, to equip yourself with everything you need to know to tackle reporting on court proceedings. This court covers both courts in South Africa and other Southern African countries.

 5 weeks online eLearning / 1-2 days training facilitated online or in person

Course overview

Young reporters are sent to court to earn their stripes to introduce them to the basics of national law and to introduce them to numerous story ideas.

Reporting from court, when handled in a legally and ethically sound way, can catapult your career and fast-track your professional trajectory. Many of the top journalists in the country (and the world) first made their mark reporting from the courtroom. To follow in their footsteps, however, you will need to be familiar with courtroom protocols, the structure of various courts and the rules and regulations that govern reporting from and about different kinds of court proceedings.

The High Courts don’t always have the same rules as the Magistrate’s Courts, and a criminal case is a different kettle of fish than a civil proceeding. A rape trial cannot be covered in the same way as a commercial crimes case, and the rules are not the same when reporting on children who are accused of a crime as they are for reporting on adults.

fraycollege partnered with legendary court reporter, Carmel Rickard, to produce an eLearning experience aimed at beginner and mid-career journalists in Southern Africa. We’ve developed this course to help you navigate the obstacles that many journalists trip over while trying to find their feet when reporting from court. We’ve highlighted some common mistakes so that you don’t have to make them.

By the end of this training, you will have both the theoretical knowledge and the practical skills to report from any courtroom. You will also know how to make these stories relevant beyond the confines of the courtroom, ensuring that the impact of your work doesn’t end the moment you step outside the courthouse.

The short course consists of four modules, an assignment and a final test. The course can be completed at your own pace, with up to six weeks to complete all six modules.

The facilitated version of this course is available for most Southern African countries.

Outcomes and goals

  • How the legal system fits into government
  • Understanding the different actors, documents and findings
  • Understanding what makes it to court and what other solutions are possible
  • Behaving in line with court conventions
  • Distinguishing what is allowed and not allowed when covering court cases
  • Applying for media access to the courts
  • Following  legal process from complaint to sentencing and appeals
  • Jurisdiction and understanding how the courts work together 
  • Public interest, precedence and case law 
  • Access and reporting restrictions
  • Beyond the courtroom – finding bigger stories

Training facilitated online or in person

Real time individual and group learning with our media and communications professionals.


Learn online at your own pace on our eLearning platform.



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Paula Fray
Paula Fray
Paula Fray


Paula Fray

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