There’s a very good chance you will read this blog post and think we in the media are just a bunch of babies, crying every time we don’t get our way. And you know, that’s true at times. But it’s also part of the job. It’s our job to ask the tough questions whether it’s a borough councilman, a football coach, a police chief, a fire marshal or a lawyer. And if we don’t get the answers we think are necessary to bring you a complete and accurate story, yes, we complain. Would you want it any other way?
And yes, we admit that there are times we aren’t the most popular people in the world. If your relative has been arrested and we write a story, we are probably not getting invited to the next party you have. But that’s also part of the job. We aren’t here to be popular but to bring you the news. Some will like the way we do it and some won’t.
The biggest news these past couple of years, however, is how the news delivery model has changed into something you’d never have recognized five or 10 years ago. Used to be that the reporter would cover the story, the photographer would take the photos, the layout guy would put it together and in the morning, there it was on your doorstep.
Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Gowilla, Google, Yahoo. If you had used those words 10 or 15 years ago people would have though you were suffering a seizure or you were auditioning for a remake of “Rainman.”
But those are the tools of the trade now for journalists. We Tweet, post to Facebook, send text alerts and try our hardest to get you the information we know you want. And we know you want it now, not later and certainly not tomorrow morning.
Morgan Marie Mengel, 36, is charged with first-degree murder, third-degree murder, criminal conspiracy, and two counts of possession of an instrument of crime in the June 2010 bludgeoning death of her husband, 33-year-old Kevin Mengel Jr.
Authorities contend Morgan Mengel had grown frustrated in her marriage, held a grudge against her husband, and wanted to make him “vanish” from her life without having to go through a messy and costly divorce.
She is alleged to have convinced Stephen Shappell, a then-21-year-old Delaware County man who had just begun working at the Mengel family landscaping business and with whom she was having an affair, to help her kill her husband.
They planned first to poison him by putting a dose of liquid nicotine in his Snapple lemonade drink, authorities say. When that failed to kill him, Shappell struck Kevin Mengel over the head multiple times with two shovels in a garage bay at the MKB Property Maintenance Shop on West Chester Pike in West Goshen.
To say that this is an interesting trial would be an understatement. These are the kinds of trials where people show up an hour before it starts to get a seat.
But unfortunately, those people in the seats are the only ones who will know the details and activities of the case in real time because the Chester County judges have decided that the press will not be permitted to Tweet, Facebook or otherwise report live from the trial. President Judge James P. MacElree II last week denied a written request from the Daily Local News to live report. We were told if we wanted to live report, we must leave the courtroom and do it out in the hallways or anywhere else.
However today, it got worse. Senior Judge Thomas Gavin told reporters they would only be allowed to leave the courtroom a specific number of times.
We maintain that these decisions — to bar live reporting from the courtroom, and now to limit the number of times a reporter can come in and out — denies the press its ability to do the job and certainly denies the public access to real time information.
Do you agree? Do you care? If you do then call:
Judge James P. MacElree II: 610 344 6700
Judge Thomas Gavin: 610 344 6181
We’re not looking for trouble here. We’re looking for the chance to report the news as it’s reported in 2012. And that’s via social media as well as the printed page. Right now, we can’t fully do the job.
— Andy Hachadorian