Monday, February 23, 2009

The Twitterbox Update: I Want to Be Ron Sylvester, Courtroom Twitterer

Actually, Mr. Sylvester is not a “courtroom Twitterer” although he is a “multimedia reporter” for The Wichita Eagle and who covers trials, and tweets continuously from the courtroom. Not only is he very good at providing live commentary in Twitter’s 140-character micro-blogging format, but he’s got my dream job. He’s also ruined me for other courtroom journalists, because now I want them all to twitter from public hearings. He’s changed the face of courtroom print reporting, especially for impatient trial enthusiasts who no longer want to wait for the morning paper (or even the evening news).

Mr. Sylvester started twittering from the courtroom in early 2008, initially as a media experiment. By the end of the trial we were getting a lot of reaction from readers,” he said. “People said they were sitting at work, refreshing the page over and over again to keep up with the trial. (Not that any of us would admit to doing the same thing, but think of all the time he saves us from having to watch hours of Court TV).

Using a T-mobile Dash phone and a Bluetooth foldable keyboard and obtaining permission of the presiding judges (“I explain it as live blogging…one sentence at a time. February 17, 2009 from txt), Mr. Sylvester sends updates to Twitter, using his Tweets as a form of note-taking to write the full print story later. It’s easy to understand why he has hundreds of followers with Tweets as follows:

Prosecutor: If you can't listen to both sides, you shouldn't be here. Juror: "I'm ready to go right now!" Even the judge laughed. 09:50 AM May 08, 2008 from txt

One juror forgot to turn off his cell phone. Ring tone: “Carry on My Wayward Son,” by Kansas (1976). 09:38 AM May 12, 2008 from txt

And the “Tweet goes on” as Mr. Sylvester tweeted today from a racketeering trial:
U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten: “Twitter is on.” I will be tweeting from trial of accused Crips gang members in federal court.”

Anyone need a courtroom Tweeter in North Carolina? I’ve got some vacation time…

1 comment:

  1. Ron and I are now friends on Twitter and Facebook -- I love the Internet!



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