The big question on everyone's mind is, will there be live streaming coverage of Phil Spector's retrial for the murder of Lana Clarkson? There was a strong Internet following during the first trial and many of the same people want to see this case through to a conclusion.
During the last pre-trial hearing, Judge Fidler announced that not a single media organization had filed the appropriate paperwork to have cameras in the courtroom. In the interim, donchais put out some feelers to media groups to see if there was anyone who would be willing to cover it. When they came back to us with the monthly production costs, we were in shock. Just covering the basic expenses would run $30,000 a month. The media group asked us, "Would people be willing to pay to view this trial?" To find out, donchais and I made inquiries on quite a few Internet crime forums and message boards. We also asked people to sign a petition that someone else had started the day before. Unfortunately, the responses we got back were not what we had hoped to see.
On a whim, yesterday I called the Los Angeles County Court's Public Information Office, asking if any media groups had submitted requests to cover the trial. Surprisingly, I was told that The Associated Press had requested to put a still photographer in the courtroom, and that local TV station KTLA (Channel 5) had filed for "TV coverage." KTLA's application requested to cover the following: "opening statements, portions of testimony, closing arguments, verdict, and sentencing."
Today I found out that both applications had been approved by Judge Fidler. Interestingly, the public information officer informed me that as of today, TruTV/CNN has NOT submitted an application to cover the trial.
Everyone should note that KTLA's application did not indicate that they were requesting "gavel to gavel" filming. I think the answer to this is two fold. First, even Judge Fidler said at the last hearing that the media interest had wained for the retrial. And I can attest to that. There have been very few reporters who have shown up to cover the last several months of pretrial hearings. There is usually a still photographer set up in the jury box, but gone are the days that a film camera would be there or a local radio station such as KFWB would have taped the hearing. I also think that with waning media interest, there isn't a news organization that is willing to invest in a trial that may drag out for five months again.
For those who don't know, KTLA is owned by The Tribune, the same company that owns The Los Angeles Times. Just this past July, The LA Times (as well as a sister paper, the Chicago Tribune) went through a major restructuring and massive layoffs. Approximately 150 Times reporters were given pink slips. Fewer reporters means less staff available to sit in a courtroom all day to cover a trial with little media interest. My friends in the media have told me that covering Spector 1 was not that profitable for The LA Times, and that The Tribune is heavily in debt. With that information, I'm not surprised that there will not be "gavel to gavel" coverage of the retrial.
For those of you who have been wanting to see Spector 2, some coverage is better than nothing.