News Writing (EL 227)


11 November 2005

Lab: Court Reporting

I will give you a jumble of facts. Your job will be to put them together in a story, due at the end of the lab.

Update, 10 Nov:

Bring your news writing workbook. The lab is open book, open notes.

We will be operating under the assumption that the events described in Chapter 13, Exercise 2 (the campus rape story) took place on the campus of Springfield University, on Oct 2, 2005.

You have been covering this story since it first broke. Today is the third day of the trial of Tony Ide, a former SU student who is the defendant in this case.

What follows is background information, and a description of what happens outside the courtroom just before the trial is scheduled to conclude.

Update: Changed a reference from "SHU" to "SU."

Update, 11 Nov: Added the following details to the summary.

In your article on the opening of the trial, you noted that Ide seemed confident and sincere on the stand, faltering only when he was pressed to give a last name for "John," a casual acquaintance with whom Ide said he was with during the time of the crime.

In the article you published yesterday, you wrote about a witness for the prosecution, James Drake, a forensic scientist who testified that a sample of blood taken from the victim's hand matched a blood sample taken from Mr. Ide. The defense attorney asked only a single question -- "Mr. Drake, how much did the prosecution pay you to present your testimony against Mr. Ide?" Drake answered, "My daily court fee is $400." You almost didn't include that in your article, since Drake has been testifying in similar circumstances for ten years, and you know for a fact that Drake doesn't pocket the $400 himself -- he uses it to pay his lab assistants, his secretary, and additional expenses. Still, because overspending and misconduct at that very same forensic lab was an issue in the County Attorney election, you briefly mentioned it towards the bottom.

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