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Housekeeping: What do you think of EqualityOnTrial.com’s new look?

Today we updated our look with regard to the format in which posts are displayed — as you can see, each post now shows a short “preview” with the option to expand the post.

Continue 7 Comments August 1, 2013

Prop 8 oral arguments at Supreme Court ending

By Adam Bink

Just an update folks: the hearing will conclude shortly here in DC at the Supreme Court. EqualityonTrial.com’s own Jacob Combs is seated in the press gallery and dashing to a computer we have set up nearby to file his report. We’ll have a post up shortly. In the meantime, stay tuned to @jacobdcombs and @adamjbink on Twitter for snippets on what happened as we work to get you a report!

March 26, 2013

Headed to DC, thanks to you

h/t Jeff Kubina
U.S. Supreme Court

By Adam Bink

Last week, myself, Scottie and Jacob all asked you for help getting to DC to cover perhaps the biggest week in Supreme Court history when it comes to LGBT equality, so we can bring you the best coverage. I am happy to report that:

1) You came through, and more. Our initial, bare minimum fundraising goal was $1,500, which we raised to $5,000 to more fully cover travel expenses, and help Scottie replace his on-its-last-legs computer. You broke through that as well. All I can say is thank you (on behalf of myself, Scottie, Jacob and the entire Courage staff) and that we’re looking forward to bringing you the best coverage on the web. It really is a privilege to write for and work with such a great community!

2) I type this in an airport on the way to DC, while Scottie is e-mailing me from his own airport, and Jacob is hopping on a train later today. We’ve secured a press credential for Jacob, who will be taking notes in the press section on the inside (electronics are forbidden) and while reports show that the lines outside the Supreme Court started absurdly early, we have made arrangements and hope to secure additional seats in the courtroom. Scottie and I will bring color commentary and monitoring reports outside (and hopefully inside) the courtroom. We’ll get you a report published as soon as the hearings conclude on both days. We’ll also have interviews with other folks on the ground.

3) I know many of you are attending the rallies and arguments as well. Courage Campaign is distributing signs and working with press on both March 26th and 27th, while our members will be in attendance. If any of you can help with that for 30 minutes or an hour, please drop me a line via adam AT couragecampaign DOT org. We hope to see you there! Lastly, there’s some talk of an EqualityonTrial (née Prop8TrialTracker.com! ah, nostalgia) get-together some of you are organizing — if you have final details and would like us to publish them here, please just drop myself, Scottie or Jacob a line.

Looking forward to covering history!

1 Comment March 25, 2013

3 reasons you need to know about next week’s Supreme Court coverage

By Adam Bink

As Jacob wrote yesterday, we need your help to raise $1,500 to send the intrepid blogging team here to DC to cover the Prop 8 and DOMA cases. He explained the ballgame. I’ll tell you why.

1) We’ll be your eyes and ears. In my humble opinion, there is nothing like live coverage from the courthouse. We’re taking copious notes on the proceedings and filing our posts immediately after oral arguments let out. What the transcripts don’t tell you is the tone, tenor, reactions of all the players in the courtroom. How did Justice Kennedy react, non-verbally, to this argument? What was the best part of Ted Olson’s argument, the high point? That’s why we’re going. If you think that’s worth something, please chip in.

2) Good coverage costs money. Many of you know EqualityOnTrial.com and its parent, Courage Campaign Institute, operates on a low budget and on the margins — our staff of just 12 generally takes public transit and Southwest instead of taxis and first class. The same is true here, but expenses to get Scottie, Jacob and me to DC add up a bit. This is especially true because Scottie is in a wheelchair and when he travels, things add up even more. It’s unfortunate and a story for another post, but true.

We don’t have corporate sponsors like SCOTUSBlog or large benefactors — we have you. If you believe, as I do, that the and the coverage the rest of our team brings to you each and every day is worth a couple cups of coffee, please chip in.

3) We’re die-hard. We’re preparing to stay outside in line ALL NIGHT the night before both hearings just in case our press seats aren’t confirmed and linesitters can’t be found. I’m quite serious. I remember seeing Scottie at Netroots Nation conference in Providence last summer and he told me he’d been saving up his whole life to go to these oral arguments if they ended up happening. He’s willing to go to the mat for your reading pleasure. Help him put away the money, and chip in $15, 20 or whatever you can to send him to DC for ya.

Hope to report to you from the Supreme Court in DC next week — if you help out. Thanks for your consideration.

1 Comment March 21, 2013

EqualityOnTrial.com goes mobile!

By Adam Bink

As requested:

We don’t have the ability to add Quick Hits via mobile yet, but we’re working on it! Other than that you can read, comment, “click” on links, and all the other good stuff.

If you have questions or suggestions, e-mail equalityontrial@couragecampaign.org (please don’t just leave in the comments). Thanks to all who donated to make our tech improvements possible and we hope you like it!

1 Comment January 21, 2013

Announcement: Launching EqualityOnTrial.com

By Adam Bink, Jacob Combs, Rick Jacobs and Scottie Thomaston

Today, we at Courage Campaign Institute are thrilled to announce that we are re-launching the site as EqualityOnTrial.com. This will be the permanent home of the blog, so Prop8TrialTracker.com will re-direct to EqualityOnTrial.com. The same coverage of all things LGBT when it comes to the courtroom continues, and we’ve even added a few new features (more on that below).

A little history and explanation are in order. About three years ago this month, Courage Campaign Institute launched Prop8TrialTracker.com to cover what was then known as Perry v. Schwarzenegger, principally because the Supreme Court ruled that live streaming of the case would not be allowed. Three weeks later, at the end of January 2010, we’d become the go-to site for live-blogging the historic trial, generating over 1 million views and tens of thousands of comments. By the end of this month three years later, Prop8TrialTracker.com has over 5 million views and over 150,000 comments from readers like you. We are the #1 Google search result for “Prop 8 trial” and the work of our intrepid bloggers and commenters has been referenced by USA Today, the San Francisco Chronicle and other outlets.

Today, we shift to a new URL/domain and add some new features. We are doing this for a few principal reasons.

First, over the course of the trial, many in the comments have called for our writers to cover more than just the Prop 8 case. Many of you have added your own links and commentary in the comments, Quick Hits, and more. So we’ve expanded to cover every move in the entire slate of Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) cases (not just the one going to the Supreme Court), other state-based lawsuits on marriage equality like Garden State Equality et al v. Dow (New Jersey), Darby v. Orr and Lazaro v. Orr (Illinois); other federal marriage cases like Sevcik v. Sandoval (Nevada) and Jackson v. Abercrombie (Hawaii), cases on bullying, sexual orientation conversion “therapy”, discrimination in employment and other realms, and much more. We did this because there were (and are) few other news or blogging outlets dedicated to covering every move of every case, in depth, with laypeople’s analysis, expert analysis from legal observers, explaining what the news means, etc.

Second, it became clear over the trajectory of the Prop 8 case that the judicial avenue towards achieving LGBT equality is becoming ever-more important in contrast to other avenues such as the legislative route. Indeed, come June 2012, because of that judicial avenue, Section 3 of DOMA may be struck down and marriage equality may be legal nationwide depending on the ruling in the Prop 8 case. What’s more, community attention reflects this increased importance. Over the last few years, more and more people started writing in asking about the timeline in this case, what a judge’s order in that case meant, what would happen to people living in such-and-such a state if a decision went this way, and so forth. You see that in the comments here. We adapted to answer those questions.

However, covering this work posed an interesting problem in that our hub was still Prop8TrialTracker.com (a name that refers to a case which, come June 2013, will no longer need “tracking”). The blogging staff here commonly received two questions: “Why is a website with the name Prop8TrialTracker.com covering these other cases?” And “why aren’t you guys covering even more of this stuff in depth?”

In the fall of 2012, the blogging team here, along with our technical team at Richir Outreach in North Carolina, set out to resolve these questions. After several months of work, here’s what changes:

1. A new URL/Domain. As mentioned above, this site will now be “EqualityOnTrial.com.” Prop8TrialTracker.com will re-direct to that URL. Please bookmark it as such! Our Twitter feed will remain @EqualityOnTrial.

2. We’re going mobile. One of the chief suggestions for improvement has been the lack of a good mobile user experience, such as on an iPhone. So, with funding from your contributions, we tasked our tech team at Richir Outreach with developing a mobile version of the site. It will launch the week of January 14 and we’ll let you know when it does. It will be much easier to follow EqualityOnTrial.com when you’re on the go.

3. A one-stop shop timeline history for prominent LGBT equality cases. One common suggestion we received is to create one place to follow all major events in all the prominent marriage equality and DOMA cases — oral arguments, briefs, orders, decisions, all that. Neither Wikipedia nor news organizations provide this. Jacob Combs took on the monumental task and poof, we’ve now got this huge reference tool. You can find it in the header navigation bar above, at right. Poke around and check it out! As always, let us know if you have suggestions: we’re here for and made by you.

4. We’ve freshened up the design. As you can see, the colors, logo and general theme of the site are fully redesigned, while the layout remains largely the same. Look for more photos in posts over the next few months as we expand our blogging.

5. We’re going to travel to cover Equality when it’s on Trial… live. Starting with the Supreme Court oral arguments on March 26-27 concerning Prop 8 and DOMA, and supported with your generous contributions, our staff will travel to cover more cases live when there are oral arguments and hearings, so you can get first-hand observations.

So it’s a fresh start, and while we’re nostalgic about Prop8TrialTracker.com, we’re excited to evolve and expand. We hope you like these improvements. We’re not perfect, so please give us your feedback and suggestions. If you find a technical problem or have a suggestion, please e-mail it to us by clicking here (equalityontrial@couragecampaign.org) — don’t just leave it in the comments. It really helps us make things better more quickly. Follow us on Facebook and on Twitter and don’t forget to bookmark the new and improved EqualityOnTrial.com.

Thanks for making this such a strong community.

8 Comments January 10, 2013

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