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article imageBloggers Make History By Gaining Access to CIA-Leak Trial

By David Silverberg     Jan 15, 2007 in Politics
Digital Journal — Bloggers are joining the media elite as a handful of these citizen journalists have been granted press credentials to cover the CIA-leak trial in Washington this week.
When former White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby goes on trial, new media journalists will be front and centre along with reporters from respected mainstream publications. For the first time, bloggers have been given press passes to the 55-year-old Washington courthouse that has been home to epic trials such as Watergate.
Reporting on the landmark trial are members of the Media Bloggers Association and writers for blogs such as the Huffington Post and Daily Kos. Around six bloggers altogether will be approved for credentials.
The selected bloggers are covering a monumental trial: Libby faces charges of perjury, obstruction and lying to the FBI about his meetings with journalists regarding CIA officer Valerie Plame. Vice President Dick Cheney is one of the more high-profile witnesses that will be called to the stand.
If there’s any moment for bloggers to step into the spotlight, it’s now. While citizen journalists have consistently reported on serious issues, public perception still regards them as snarky writers crafting 200-word posts in pyjamas. As any user knows, that’s simply not the case — especially when a user-powered community like this one often breaks news before the mainstream media does. Also, bloggers can inject opinion and introspection while other news outlets must maintain an almost robotic professional distance.
The Libby trial will be an intriguing litmus test for new media. Sure, bloggers covered the 2004 presidential election and the Enron trial, but citizen journalism has matured since then. American media can add a new badge of honour to its sleeve, and if bloggers report accurately and fairly on this week’s trial, expect that honour to gain momentum in upcoming high-profile events.
Bloggers deserve the respect. It’s about time they step out of the shadows and impact political opinion in an even more drastic way than they already have.
More about Scooter libby, Washington, Bloggers, Citizen journalism, New media
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