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Many online readers thanked us this week for our almost real-time reporting from the high-profile trial of Victoria's police chief. I even had one reader call me personally to say how much he liked the Web feature.

The reporting was made by possible by a relatively new technology called Twitter. If you've never heard of Twitter, you might start with this primer: http://twitter.com/about

Managing editor Thomas Martinez, reporter Sonny Long and reporter Leslie Wilber posted Tweets at various times during the week. To Tweet using their mobile phones, the journalists had to walk outside the courtroom into the hallway.

Our courts haven't quite caught up to the technology of the 21st century. The judge in the case denied our request for cameras in the courtroom, even though many jurisdictions allow that. Silent texting on a mobile phone is even less disruptive, but that also was not allowed inside the courtroom. Perhaps that will change soon.

This Social Media Law Student blog explains how courts elsewhere are beginning to allow Twitter inside. After all, our courts are supposed to be open to public view. You probably don't have the time or luxury to watch the proceedings all day in person, although you have the right to see your judicial system in action (or inaction). Twitter allows you to virtually be there.

Image

On my iPhone, I snapped this picture of Martinez using his iPhone to Tweet about the case.