It's not just a live blog; those have been around for awhile. When I started this blog last February in the middle of the Scooter Libby perjury trial, one of the best jury resources was the live blog of that trial at firedoglake.com. After that came wonderful live blogs from the Daphne Wright murder trial in South Dakota and the James Seale Ku Klux Klan murder trial in Mississippi.
It's not easy to live-blog a trial, but the best live blogs are better than being there, immediate without the boring. By necessity, though, they're not truly "live." The blogger needs to collect enough information for a post, and so posts go up every few hours, or even at the end of the day.
Twitter, you may remember, is the leading "microblog" site, with millions of people answering the question "What are you doing?" all day and night in "tweets" of 140 characters or fewer. There's a lot of silly tweeting going on at Twitter, but more and more, serious professionals are having professional conversations. I've been checking in there for the last month or so, happily "following" the thoughts of Kevin O'Keefe (Real Lawyers Have Blogs), Grant Griffiths (Home Office Warrior), Susan Cartier Liebel (Build A Solo Practice), Carolyn Elefant (My Shingle and Legal Blog Watch), Gideon (a public defender), Rush Nigut (Rush on Business), Brett Trout (Cyber Law), and Nicole Black (Sui Generis and Women Lawyers - Back on Track), among others.
My corner of Twitter has mostly been cheerful small talk and link sharing, but suddenly this week it's news. Kevin O'Keefe wrote today about Twitter's role in letting the world know about today's earthquake in China. Less drastically, but central to my blog's topic, Ron Sylvester is reporting jury selection with a fresh and direct style you don't often see, except on Twitter.
"You could see lawyers tensing up"
Today was Day Two of what will be at least a three day voir dire. To take just a few examples from today, Sylvester is noting:
- Practicalities. "One juror excused for not being able to look at crime photos. You could see lawyers tensing up, expecting others to see that as a way out."
- Lessons. "Even if you're against the death penalty, if you say you can consider it, you can qualify to sit on the jury."
- Ironies. "When I left, a woman was dismissed because she couldn't consider the death penalty. I return: a man is excused for not considering life."
- Light moments. "On[e] juror forgot to turn off his cell phone. Ring tone: "Carry on My Wayward Son," by Kansas (1976)."
At his blog Technolo-J ("getting in touch with journalism's technical side"), Sylvester wrote on Saturday about the decision to cover the trial this way, and what he's learning. I'd argue with him on only one point: