OLD Media Moves

Enron trial coverage begins

January 29, 2006

Coverage of the Enron trial began to build up this weekend. Expect to be inundated with coverage until the trial ends, and the verdict will likely be front-page news in papers across the world.

Here are some of the things that I noticed from coverage this weekend:

1. The Associated Press had a basic story today about jury selection, noting how hard it will be to find a 12-person jury in Houston that isn’t already convinced that the energy company’s former executives are guilty. Read the story here.

2. The New York Times ran a preview of the trial, pointing out that the star witnesses in the case for the prosecution may not be Ken Lay or Jeff Skilling, but low-level Enron employees who “raised red flags about Enron’s businesses and on witnesses who were privy to what Mr. Lay and Mr. Skilling said when they spoke to investors. The defense will counter with a legion of lawyers and accountants who will testify that they themselves had approved Enron’s byzantine accounting maneuvers and that any fraud that did occur did not reach the top of the company.”

The Times also has a video on its home page of a conversation between business editor Larry Ingrassia, reporter Kurt Eichenwald and columnist Joe Nocera about the trial.

3. The Houston Chronicle’s Mary Flood also focused on the strategies of the two legal teams in her Sunday story, similar to the NYT story. In addition, I like the Chronicle’s Legal Commentary blog on the trial, where local attorneys are posting comments aand perspective about the case.

The Post also has a pretty comprehensive section on its Web site devoted to the Enron trial. It includes briefs on the major players, and the major issues surrounding the trial.

4. Forbes magazine also has a nice selection of video interviews regarding the trial on its Web site. Forbes.com editor Paul Maidment digs into the trial with Gregory Markel, chairman, litigation deptartment, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft; Doug Carmichael, professor, CUNY Zicklin School of Business; and Jill Fisch, professor, Fordham University School of Law.

What I’ve seen is that many traditional print outlets are using video on their Web sites to help explain what will be a complicated trial to explain to the average reader. I think that’s a smart move.

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