THE ACCUSED IS ENTERING THE COURTROOM: THE LIVE-TWEETING OF A MURDER TRIAL.
The use of social media is now widely accepted within journalism as an outlet for news information. Live tweeting of unfolding events is standard practice. In March 2014, Oscar Pistorius went on trial in the Gauteng High Court for murder. Hundreds of journalists present began live-tweeting coverage, an unprecedented combination of international interest, permission to use technology and access which resulted in massive streams of consciousness reports of events as they unfolded. Based on a corpus of Twitter feeds of twenty-four journalists covering the trial, this study analyses the content and strategies of these feeds in order to present an understanding of how microblogging is used as a live reporting tool. This study shows the development of standardised language and strategies in reporting on Twitter, concluding that journalists adopt a narrow range of approaches, with no significant variation in terms of gender, location, or medium. This is in contrast to earlier studies in the field (Awad, 2006, Hedman, 2015; Kothari, 2010; Lariscy, Avery, Sweetser, & Howes, 2009 Lasorsa, 2012; Lasorsa, Lewis, & Holton, 2011; Sigal, 1999, Vis, 2013).