Tag Archives: Larry Langford

Birmingham reporters cover Langford trial with Twitter


Trial coverage to a big step forward in October, thanks to a federal judge and tech-savvy reporters. During the corruption trial of then Birmingham mayor Larry Langford, Twitter became a primary source of live updates throughout the eight days in session.

Federal law prohibits broadcasting from within the courtroom. And a sign just outside the courtroom instructs that cell phones must be turned off. But Judge Scott Coogler allowed members of the media to use their phones to send updates to their Twitter accounts.

Followers were able to read live accounts of testimony, arguments and the mechanics of a high-profile trial from their computers and phones. It’s likely the first time a major trial received this level of scrutiny.

Coogler told Fox 6:

“The difference is Twitter is like a reporter taking notes, if you will, instead of having to take the notes back to their office, they’re writing them on a device which then goes out.

“It’s their own interpretation of what’s going on in the proceeding, and when I looked at it, it seemed pretty clear to me.”

During the trial, Coogler instructed jurors to isolate themselves from media coverage, but also included blogs, Twitter, Facebook and other sources of information. But he also took time to praise reporters for handling the coverage with decorum in and out of the courtroom.

Trial Twitterers included:

It’s clear that for citizens and for reporters, Twitter has changed how trial news is reported and consumed.

For more, see the story and video from Fox 6.

How would you grade the media’s coverage of the Langford trial? Did you follow along on Twitter? Leave a comment at the beep. Beep.

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AltWeekly Award for Kyle

Kyle WhitmireCongratulations to MOBster Kyle Whitmire, who won first place in Political Column (under 55,000 circ.) Saturday at the 2008 AltWeekly Awards for his War on Dumb column in Birmingham Weekly.

This is the newspaper’s first win in nine years, though it has picked up several runner-up honors.

War on Dumb wins AltWeekly Award

On Saturday, the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies and the Medill School of Journalism announced the winners of the 13th annual Altweekly Awards at the association’s convention in Philadelphia. Birmingham Weekly’s ‘War on Dumb’ took first place for best political column in the 55,000-and-under circulation division.

The weekly column by staff writer Kyle Whitmire examines political culture in Birmingham and Alabama.

Birmingham Weekly last received a first place award in 1999 for media criticism by then-staff writer Tom Spencer. In recent years, Birmingham Weekly writers have been runners up for commentary, political commentary and arts criticism.

You can find the rest of the 2008 Altweekly Award winners at www.aan.org.

The winning submission included three columns from 2007 — two about Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford and one about Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s Alabama PAC scheme to sidestep federal campaign finance laws.

You can read the winning columns by following the links below.