It wasn't long after I started Trials & Tribulations covering the first Phil Spector trial, that I started to receive fan E-mail. Most of the fan mail I received was encouraging, because I was writing about things that the main stream media didn't talk about. Every once in a blue moon, I'd get a letter where the reader wasn't completely happy with my trial coverage. It's been several years since I've received a letter like that, so it was a bit of a surprise when I got home from court on Friday, February 24th, 2012, and read the following E-mail: (I have respectfully not published the writer's name and I am sharing my response.)
While I enjoy most of your trial reports, some of your material is of absolutely no relevance to the trial. Paging through 3-6 paragraphs describing the wardrobe of various individuals (some totally tangential to the trial itself) is irritating for anyone wanting to know "what happened in the courtroom". Spending more time providing timely daily reports "of the trial" is of infinitely more value than a description of the color, fabric and fit of the outfit worn by the attorneys or individuals in the gallery. Please, give us the facts of the trial, as quickly as possible. Thank you
Dear T&T reader,
Thank you so much for taking the time to write and letting me know your opinions about my trial coverage. I feel the need to introduce myself because you might be under a misconception about this blog. I am Betsy A. Ross, a semi-retired housewife and I started T&T about five years ago. My blog started out as a diary or journal if you will, about my experiences attending a criminal trial in person. I wanted to let others know what it was like, for me, to go to court and sit in the gallery and watch the legal process unfold up close and personal.
There's a large community of people on the web who watch trials on TV or online, who would love to attend a trial themselves but are unable to do so. My trial coverage is aimed at those readers. I try to give the T&T reader a sense that they are sitting beside me in court, experiencing what I'm experiencing, seeing what I'm seeing and hearing what I'm overhearing. And, if you take the time to read the comments left on the stories I publish, most readers appreciate my unique style of reporting. I write about what people wear, what I see people do and hear them say because a trial is a real-life drama on a stage where everyone has a part; not just the parties in the well of the court, but those in the gallery as well who may be related to the defendant or victim.
In January 2011, with my large body of work as just a regular citizen, the LA County Superior Court acknowledged my trial reporting efforts and now recognizes me as being a member of the media. I am honored to be included with some of the best names in criminal court reporting. Over the years, T&T has added other contributors who report on issues they're concerned about, cases they either attended or watched online, as well as guest writers who also cover criminal cases.
You should know that not a single contributor or guest writer gets paid a cent for their work. All the time and effort T&T's writers put into a story is donated and we don't have an editor or fact checker. No one writing for T&T is affiliated with any mainstream news organization and the only advertizing you will ever see on the blog is for my own modest, seasonal sewing business.
I don't expect to please every reader 100% of the time. I know that my style of diary-like reporting is not for everybody. However, I do believe that I provide the most comprehensive, detailed coverage of a case that you will find anywhere on the Internet or in print. Hopefully, with this information, you might have a different perspective on what T&T is all about. Thank you again for writing.
Betsy A. Ross, Owner,
Trials & Tribulations Blog
UPDATE 5:51 PM
The commenter has written me a very lovely response to my reply, indicating they will continue to read T&T's coverage and that they think, "... the quality of your trial reporting is equal to that of professional paid reporters." Thank you very much!