4 DAYS LEFT: You Crowdfunded my Court Reporting: now be part of the Hacking Trial Book

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Pre-order the Book: Get eternal life.

Once more thanks so much for supporting my live tweeting the phone hacking trial. I live tweeted nearly 500,000 words in 2.5 million keystrokes from the Old Bailey thanks to you. The trial finally concluded last week with the sentencing of Dan Evans – and the announcement of a likely Phone Hacking Trial Two with the charging of former News of the World deputy editor Neil Wallis, and features editor Jules Stenson

But nothing will ever again match the size, length and cost of the 8 month trial of Regina v Brooks and Others. For those of you who may have missed it, I’ve written a long form profile of Brooks for the New Statesman

More importantly, I’ve just finished Beyond Contempt:The Inside Story of the Phone Hacking Trial – which reveals all the legal argument, media campaigns and police activities that we’re going on in the background – as well as my own adventures and misadventures. Continue reading

Has the phone hacking trial created a new form of journalism?

From a New Statesman piece by David Banksy. He makes some interesting and well informed points about old and new journalism, which I largely agree with – except the suggestion comments are really a “souped up letters page”. But more on that later.

Although previous trials have been liveblogged and tweeted, this one seems to have attracted a degree more coverage in that way from the media, perhaps because the media, or a part of it, is in the dock.

The break with traditional reporting was completed this week by the presence of Peter Jukes, an independent journalist and author of Fall of the House of Murdoch, who along with other reporters, livetweeted the first week of the trial.

What was different about Jukes was that as a result  of the response to his reporting, he was able to crowdsource sufficient funds to allow him to carry on until Christmas.

Continue reading

Why I probably won’t be live tweeting much more of the Hacking Trial

First off, a big thank you for reading this, and for following me on twitter during the opening statements for the Hacking Trial. lt was an honour to be there and report it (even if my keyboard and carpal tunnel says otherwise). I attended many of the pre-trial hearings, and obviously know a lot of background to the saga from researching my book – but being there in court was as electrifying as it sounded. I know I got some names wrong, and had to trim a lot of quotes to fit into 140 characters – but I felt immediacy trumped comprehensiveness in the circumstances.

Maybe it’s my histrionic background as a dramatist, but I wanted you to feel like you were there too.

Throughout my covearge I also have tried to be impartial, and actually tweeted more quotes per minute from the Coulson’s defence barristers opening statement that Edis. However, though impartial, I can’t pretend to be neutral – who can if they care about journalism? No criminal actions in this case have been proven, but the ‘agreed facts’ still constitute one of the biggest media scandals of our age.

But we also live in an age of radically downsized media organisations, and I would be less than honest if I did not explain the constraint on my time in the Old Bailey is economic.

As a freelancer I have no retainer to cover my time there. I get paid per piece, and with a likely offer of one piece per week being published for the remaining months of the trial, £200 per week will not cover my living expenses in London. Actually, given the cost of living here, they barely cover a day,

It’s a sad reflection of the parlous, indeed perilous, state of journalism that this has been true for the last two years of writing my book, and at least 100 articles for the Daily Beast. Prior to the trial, without having to be in court all day, I’ve managed to cross-fund the time through other work and dip into my savings. But now I’m broke (mortgage defaulting broke to be honest) and so will have to seek other work in the months ahead.

This is not a pity plea or pitch. There are others who survive on much less than I do. But it is worth noting for those who celebrate the ‘everything for free’ era of Google.

If you’ve followed me in recent days hoping for continual live tweeting, I won’t be at all offended if you unfollow. Until yesterday, I had no idea Justice Saunders would allow live tweeting beyond the prosecution’s opening remarks. It’s been a ball – with some many fascinating comments and feedback: social media at its finest.

Some kind soul sent me some money through paypal through my peter@peterjukes.com account just so I would continue live reporting. I haven’t figured out how to return that, so I might just email back and offer to do a Q&A for that person, or attend a session of their choice. Some other tweeters have kindly offered to set up a crowd funding account. I’m neither a saint nor a martyr, and given the importance of this trial for ‘British justice’ as the presiding judge put it, I will not ignore further requests. If there’s a popular demand for more coverage, I will respond and carve out as much as time as possible to return to the court. However, there are many fine journalists attending the Old Bailey: I’ll continue to retweet them and comment from my background knowledge

Thanks for joining me on what has been quite a crazy, sometimes grim, but exhilarating ride


UPDATE; putting pride aside for public demand, I created a crowd funding page at IndieGogo in order to cover the trial till at least Christmas.  An amazing response in the first hour or so. At his rate, as Arnie says

I’ll be back