Greensboro and the national media

To me, it’s unseemly when journalists complain to the public about how they’re being mistreated. The public — many of whom have much tougher jobs — has little sympathy for reporters. And, of course, people have even less sympathy for reporters who think they should get more special treatment that members of the public.

Case in point from Politico at the John Edwards trial: If reporters were expecting Greensboro’s federal court to roll out the welcome mat and perhaps even offer a little Southern hospitality, they came away disappointed Monday. Save for some safety measures taken outside around the TV trucks and the entrance, there appeared to have been no arrangements at all made for the media covering the high-profile case.

They had no assurance they’d get a seat in the courtroom. They couldn’t trade places with someone in line. They couldn’t have people “hold” their place in line so they could go to the bathroom. And the jurors got better treatment than they did!

At the end of his story in the News & Record, Robert Lopez tells of two national reporters who had trouble with the rules in the Greensboro courtroom.

During the morning session (Judge Catherine) Eagles said a reporter had tried to come in wearing “a wire” (cameras and transmitting devices are prohibited). ABC’s Bob Woodruff  stood and said it was him but that he didn’t know it was there.

OK. At least, I hope the visiting journalists are enjoying Elm Streets bars and restaurants.

5 thoughts on “Greensboro and the national media

  1. May be she can toss a few in jail for violating the rules. Sadly, Sheriff Hege’s Pink Jail no longer exists for them to enjoy and BJ’s Bed and Breakfast isn’t open yet (I think).

  2. At Jim Bakker’s trial in federal court in Charlotte in ’89, a bunch of us media types, local and national, got together with the Clerk of U.S. District Court, a courtly (!) gentleman named Thomas Jefferson McGraw, and had a very civilized conversation about our needs, the rules and capacities of the court and courthouse, and possible friction points. We had to do something — the courtroom was tiny, with fewer than three dozens seats for spectators of any kind.

    One very smart thing McGraw did was to insist on certain standards inside the building, including setting aside two rows for working media, but let the media decide among themselves how things would work outside, before the doors opened (e.g., first-come, first-served each day; whether placeholding was allowed if someone had to go to the bathroom; etc.). And to put the onus on the media to do it right, he decided we wouldn’t be let in the building each day until just before court started.

    We walked out of there agreed on a set of rules that, while not always convenient — I had to get in line at 4 a.m. on the days Richard Dortch and Jim Bakker himself testified — were at least logical and well understood. And the people who’d been there most consistently were the ones who got seats for the key witness testimony, the verdict and the sentencing.

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