Joyner, Waas To Blog Libby Trial

    January 18, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

The first two credentialed bloggers to gain access to a federal trial should begin their blogging next week, after Media Bloggers Association president Robert Cox wraps up his voir dire (jury selection) coverage.

James Joyner from Outside The Beltway and Murray Waas from Crooks and Liars will take two of the one hundred seats allocated to mainstream media when the Scooter Libby trial begins. That should start next week, according to Cox.

In an email to WebProNews, Cox noted he was covering the voir dire process. A post on his personal blog, Words In Edgewise, described what Joyner and Waas, and the bloggers to follow them, can expect in the federal courthouse:

The room set up as a media center is ideal for a blogger. There is a widescreen television displaying four feeds from the video camera – the judge, the witness box, a crossshot of both and the lawyer’s desks. The Wifi worked perfectly and I was online within a minute of getting into the room.

My plan is to be here this week to make sure that the bloggers that follow behind me have a good sense of what to expect when they arrive at the courthouse. Later I will write up a “protocol” document to share with all of the bloggers. The good news is that we get real chairs, room enough on a long table to work with a laptop, powerstrips and, of course, the WiFi. I would show you a picture but…well…they took my camera.

Recording devices are not permitted in the courtroom, as US District Judge Reggie Walton decreed in the rules of order for the case. Violating that means a likely contempt sanction from the bench.

Likewise, bloggers and other media types have to keep their credentials available, because the US Marshals may ask for them at any point. Cox said in his blog that the ones they have received are the only ones they will physically get, and if they are lost, so is access to the courtroom.

Call them bloggers, citizen journalists, or anything else, the accomplishment of gaining media access to what will be a heavily covered trial is quite a feat. Just as people follow the events of the trial, other bloggers will watch what Joyner, Waas, and others do in the setting. Get ready for some strong opinions from the blogosphere about that.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.