Bloggers Win Seats at Scooter Libby Trial [Stephen Spruiell]
Robert Cox, president of the Media Bloggers Association, has won two seats for his members to cover the Scooter Libby trial, according to today's Washington Post. Jeralyn Merritt at TalkLeft reports that this is good news for bloggers, because seats at trials like these are hard to get:
This is a pretty big deal. It's hard to get a press pass for the actual courtroom in a high-profile case, as opposed to the overflow courtroom, where you only get to hear audio of what's going on. It's just not the same. You can't see the jurors or watch the body language of the trial participants. Even major tv networks usually only get a few seats in the courtroom, with the rest of their reporters and pundits having to be in the overflow courtroom.*
MBA member James Joyner isn't happy with how the Post reporter who wrote the story portrayed bloggers:
The common journalistic practices of verifying facts, seeking both sides of a story and subjecting an article to editing are honored mostly in the breach. Innuendo and rumor ricochet around the Internet as blogs link from one to another, at times making defamatory voices indistinguishable from the many others involved in this experiment of free expression.
What utter rubbish. These journalistic standards have mostly been honored in the breach by the press throughout the ages. From the days of Yellow Journalism through today’s tabloid dailies, the business side of media has always trumped the theoretical professionalism. Innuendo and rumor from unattributed sources are front page news even at such august institutions as the Post and the New York Times. Since the advent of 24/7 cable news, editorial control and verification have gone by the wayside. And the Post even has blogs of its own these days.
To say that people can’t distinguish credible blogs from bad is to give too little credit. Can people not tell the New York Post or New York Daily News from the New York Times?
The Post also covers the MBA's efforts to get its members to agree to a set of ethical guidelines and even to take an online course on mass comm law. If the MBA holds its members to high standards, the reasoning goes, then membership in the MBA will make it easier for a blogger to cover anything from federal trials to movie premieres.
* UPDATE: In an update, Merritt reports that the MBA actually requested the overflow room, because the Court plans to hook it up with WiFi and video.
01/11 10:26 AMShare