Sep 8 2007
07:39 am

The Knoxville News Sentinel recently issued a call for bloggers to help cover the upcoming KNS v. Knox County Commission trial. The reasoning was that because the newspaper is the plaintiff, they needed independent coverage.

Jack McElroy announced on his blog that three bloggers have been selected. They are Rich Hailey, David Oatney, and Russ McBee. From McElroy's description, it sounds as though they will mostly be covering the coverage, not necessarily the trial itself (maybe Russ can elaborate on how that will work).

Anyway, its an interesting experiment in citizen journalism. I'm not sure a newspaper has ever done anything like this before. Once again, the KNS is way out front in working with the the local blogger community.

newscoma's picture

I think this is absolutely

I think this is absolutely great.

Bbeanster's picture

I wonder why they picked

I wonder why they picked some guy from White Pine (Oatney)?

Swapping a lack of knowledge of the local landscape for lack of bias, maybe?

rocketsquirrel's picture

It should be covered by the

It should be covered by the folks who've been covering county politics and this entire mess all along.

well, not when they'll all be subpoenaed as witnesses. Quite a statement, isn't it? We don't impartiality in county government or in local media.

Rachel's picture

Good pt; hadn't thought of

Good pt; hadn't thought of that. Still, I don't look forward to Satterfield's breathless true crime style of coverage.

Sam's picture

Way to go KNS!

Be looking forward to the blogs.

Russ's picture

Wingin' it

Randy, I'm not sure how this will work either, but I intend to give it my best shot. A week or so ago, Michael Silence posted a request from Jack McElroy to enlist some local bloggers to cover the coverage:

The newspaper will be continuing to cover [the trial] but it clearly has a conflict of interest. So Editor Jack McElroy asked me if I'd post something seeking bloggers to follow, or monitor, our coverage of that trial. ... Our plans aren't real specific because we want to leave some elbow room for constructive feedback. You don't have to be at the trial to do this but you can be if you want.

I volunteered via email. Michael's reply was brief and non-specific, which I think was sort of the point. In the interest of full disclosure, I feel comfortable quoting that email here. He said:

Don't feel limited to just covering the coverage. Other commentary is certainly welcome. We left a lot of elbow room to let each blogger define what they do.

And that was pretty much the extent of it.

I'm certain there will be a tsunami of local commentary on the trial regardless, so in that sense, McElroy's call for freelance ombudsmen seems a little superfluous. However, I think the larger point is the "interesting experiment," as you put it, of newspapers reaching out to bloggers for critique.

That's got to be a first.

This trial will drag on for weeks, I'm sure. I wish I could take the time off from work to sit in the courtroom live-blogging it, but that's just not a realistic option for me. So, I suppose that means my job is to examine the KNS coverage of the trial for obvious bias and to collate it with coverage and commentary from other sources. The local TV stations, the Shopper, MetroPulse, and local bloggers will undoubtedly have tons to say on the matter, so I'm sure I'll have lots to compare against Jamie Satterfield's reportage.

I haven't spoken to David or Rich about it, so I don't know what approach they plan to take.

Rachel's picture

Why the heck is Jamie

Why the heck is Jamie Satterfied covering this trial? It's not a criminal case.

It should be covered by the folks who've been covering county politics and this entire mess all along.

Russ's picture

I wondered about that too.

I wondered about that too.

Sam's picture

Why the heck is Jamie

Why the heck is Jamie Satterfied covering this trial? It's not a criminal case.

It should be covered by the folks who've been covering county politics and this entire mess all along.

From what I understand from the article, Jamie is from Sevier County and for that reason she would not have any bias.

Pam Strickland's picture


Interesting. It would be good if someone other than Jamie could sit through the whole thing. But then my guess is that Jamie won't even sit through every moment.

Jamie's coverage is ok, but sometimes I think she works too damned hard to get those cutesy leads. And sometimes, I just don't think they are appropriate.

I think getting objective coverage, even with this blogger angle, is going to be very tough, maybe impossible, becuase so many people have formed opinions about both the KNS and the commission. My guess is that sumliminal (sp) opinions will come out in all kinds of strange ways.


Pam Strickland

"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be." ~Kurt Vonnegut

Factchecker's picture

...Satterfield's breathless

...Satterfield's breathless true crime style of coverage

Is anyone else "over" JS's over-the-top smarmy-tainment? Please, ma'am, just the facts. Leave the snarkiness to us experts. That's what anonymous blog comments are for.

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