Bloggers get a seat - two actually - at Libby trial

For the first time, bloggers will not have to line up the night before to cover a high-profile trial. Two of seats reserved for media will go to bloggers, thanks to one man's efforts.
Written by Richard Koman, Contributor

A first in the federal courts: Two of the 100 seats reserved for the media to cover the trial of Scooter Libby will go to bloggers, the first win in an ongoing effort to get bloggers full respect in the country's courthouses, The Washington Post reports.

After two years of negotiations with judicial officials across the country, the Media Bloggers Association, a nonpartisan group with about 1,000 members working to extend the powers of the press to bloggers, has won credentials to rotate among his members. The trial ... could "catalyze" the association's efforts to win respect and access for bloggers in federal and state courthouses, said Robert Cox, the association's president.

It's a huge deal since courts are notoriously cautious about the whole Internet business and blogs are typically seen as the equivalent of the Wild West. But the courts eventually opted in favor of bloggers for the public awareness of court proceedings they could offer.

"Bloggers can bring a depth of reporting that some traditional media organizations aren't able to achieve because of space and time limitations," said Sheldon Snook, administrative assistant to Chief Judge Thomas F. Hogan. Snook added that some bloggers also bring expertise that is welcome in court.

Cox said a diverse group of bloggers -- with differing political outlooks and geographic locations - will rotate through the trial, including himself.

"The history of where blogging is going to go is not defined. It could go in a very positive direction or it could go in a very negative direction," Cox said. "We have to do more than just sit on our hands and see what happens."
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