Tent City

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Wednesday's blog has lots of pictures. To check out my photo essays, click on the links in the photo box above. I took a bunch of pictures of the area around the Michael Jackson (search) trial to give you a better idea of the trial and media coverage. While most trials are simply the evidence presented in court, you can't ignore the fact that the jury sees so much entering the court in the Jackson trial. Our photo essay gives you a bit of an idea of the magnitude of the media attention as well as shows you what the jurors see each day.

I am always amazed by the resources the media devote to big stories. We have a make shift bureau — actually we rented a local swimming pool office and converted it for a short time into a news bureau. I am not kidding. Several pics of our "bureau" are part of the blog today.

We try and recreate the permanent bureau with all its equipment and technical amenities but the truth is that a make shift bureau is like camping. I spent about an hour and a half yesterday trying to get my laptop connected to the Internet so that I could log on to the internal FOX programs to prepare for our show. I got so frustrated at one point that I wanted to throw my laptop against the wall. The "help desk" in New York eventually rescued me and got me online so that I could do my work.

I spent a short time in the courtroom yesterday listening to the lawyers and judge discuss the jury instructions. I was struck by how ordinary the proceedings seemed. If it were not for the celebrity of the defendant, this would seem like the most routine criminal case. Today Jackson will be in court so I am sure to get a different impression of the case.

What is sort of unusual — but fun — about these big trials is that you see so many people you know from other networks. If you are old enough and have covered enough trials, you know everyone — and I don't just mean the on air talent. There are many, many producers I see walking around who I know from other high profile trials. You make friends at these trials... then don't see or hear from the person until you bump into him or her at the next trial. The world of covering high profile trials is a bit small — we all seem to know each other.

I had dinner with friends — some you know (Laura Ingle (search) and Jim Hammer) — and caught up with what is going on in and out of the trial. I learned, for instance, that if your cell phone goes off in the courtroom, you get banished from the courtroom for one week. I also learned that the judge's own cell phone went off in the courtroom recently — he did not banish himself for a week. Jim Hammer said he recently left his phone on and it started to vibrate in the courtroom. He was terrified that a bailiff would notice and he would get banned but he "dodged the bullet." In some ways being in this courtroom seemed like being in school again.

I hope you like pictures!

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