Local news outlets are covering the Enron trial in traditional and non-traditional ways. The standard news stories on TV, radio and newspaper are there, but those who want more blow-by-blow accounts of what’s happening inside the courtroom now have the option of turning to blogs. Houston Public Radio’s Capella Tucker reports.
Blogs, the common term for web logs, have been taking off on the internet and many local media outlets have turned to them as part of their coverage of the Enron trial. No recording devices are allowed in the courtroom and in a sense, the blog is the next best thing for up to the minute coverage. Reporters and legal experts are doing blogs as well as Houston Chronicle Business Columnist Loren Steffy.
“Readers are watching this stuff as it unfolds and it gives them a sense of being in the courtroom. You know there’re no cameras allowed so you’re not going to see video of this on the evening news. I mean this is your one insight into what’s happening as it happens.”
The Chronicle has two other Enron blogs. One by the reporters covering the trial and another where attorneys chime in on what’s going on in the Enron trial. Steffy says the blogs taken together provide a good overview of what’s happening every day in the courtroom.
“I’m an opinion writer I mean that’s my job is to put my opinion on these things and obviously I have some strong feelings about what happened at Enron and what went wrong and that sort of thing. So, kind of the role I guess that I play in this trail is offering commentary as it goes along.”
KHOU television reporters blog on daily assignments and it’s going to be no different for the Enron trial. Reporter Nancy Holland says they have a variety of means for posting blogs which include both text and audio blogs. She says blogs allow for more information than what’s allowed in a television story.
“The other thing I can do with a blog is give them something that they’re probably not going to hear on TV at all because I have to deal with the main point of the day. But if there are interesting people who come up and ask interesting questions and sort of the whole outside play, or if I decided to talk about what it’s like just sitting in the courtroom for a day and who else is in there, that’s not the kind of thing I can spend a minute and a half of television time on. But I can talk about it in a blog and it’s other things that I at least hope other people find interesting.”
University of Houston Communications Professor Garth Jowett says the Enron blogs are an example of how new media is absorbed by the old media.
“The bloggers are able to do a certain amount of introspection which the instantaneously showing of the film on court TV doesn’t really allow. So it’s a lot of interpretation. Now the wonderful thing for a media scholar like me, for years we’ve talked about the fact that there’s been a decline in the number of outlets of information in this country, we are now going in the opposite direction. We have so many outlets of information via blogging and other internet sources that people are going to have to make up their minds where they are going to go to get what kind of news.”
Capella Tucker, Houston Public Radio News.