Thursday, September 16, 2010

Journo alum Carol Rosenberg on tweeting from the Gitmo trials

UMass Journalism alum Carol Rosenberg has been covering Guantanamo for the Miami Herald for several years now, and if you follow her on Twitter like I do, you'll see she's tweeting from the courtroom (correction: she's actually tweeting outside the courtroom; no electronic devices are allowed inside) while the trial is in process.
What a great opportunity to see how a pro uses social media to inform her readers.

Here's what Carol wrote me about the process: 

When two hearings are being held simultaneously I monitor both (running between two rooms, ridiculous) via CCTV in a media filing center below the hillside tribunal chamber. In there we are allowed to use our computers but no recording devices, no telephones.
My theory of twitter from Guantanamo is this: Since they set the place up to be "off the grid" -- legally, PR-wise, etc. -- and communications are really lousy, I have found that tweeting is a way to get a level of detail out from the war court (following journalistic disciplines) for people in the Pentagon, NGO and legal communities, plus others, who really want to follow developments as they happen. And lawyers in particular tell me they do follow them, like little one-line old wire service vintage bulletins, update, advisories.
Here's something that might interest, if you're doing ethics:
I knew for a fact that in the Khadr case the Army defense lawyer's wife was following my tweets to know what was going on in her husband's case.
So before I "tweeted" that he had collapsed in court and was taken away in an ambulance I rang his boss in DC, a Marine colonel, and asked him to call her.

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