Friday, April 1, 2005

Change in focus of trial coverage

Today a coalition of major news organizations announced an initiative to abandon coverage of celebrity trials in order to offer more in-depth reporting of legal issues that affect ordinary Americans.

A spokesperson for CourtTV said, "One day we looked around and realized we had devoted precious resources to coverage of the Michael Jackson trial that we could have used to cover more important issues, such as the risks to victims of domestic violence who are unrepresented in their divorces." CourtTV's web page on the Michael Jackson case may not be developed further.

Larry King stated that he tired of the Scott Peterson trial shortly after it began but felt he had to keep interviewing participants to satisfy his producers. Now that Martha Stewart is out of prison, he welcomes the opportunity to interview consumer rights advocates about abuses by payday lenders, used car dealers, and debt collection agencies.

K. Rupert Murdoch, CEO of the News Corporation, assured investors that the change in emphasis was good business as well as responsible journalism. "We have conducted focus groups and learned that viewers will stay tuned much longer for serious analysis of important issues than for glimpses of celebrities and rehashing of scandals. We expect viewership to increase dramatically."

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