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Friday, August 10, 2007

Legal journalists can have egos too (allegedly, anyway)

We at Minnesota Lawyer try not to be prima donnas when we participate in panel discussions or other events in the legal community. However, that apparently cannot be said of every legal journalist.

Gale Beckerman over at the Columbia Journalism Review has an amusing piece today about New York Times Courts reporter Linda Greenhouse, whom Beckerman dubs the "queen bee of Supreme Court reporters." Greenhouse was to be one of several legal journalists on a panel discussing covering the high court. C-SPAN came to film the event, which was sponsored by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

But things got a little odd when Greenhouse arrived, according to Beckerman. When Greenhouse saw C-SPAN's lights and cameras, she reportedly "became infuriated."

According to Beckerman, Greenhouse told the organizer that she had come to speak to a “room of academics,” and “didn’t want to have to modulate [her] comments for a national audience." She then reportedly issued an ultimatum -- the cameras go or she does. (Greenhouse denies this, saying that she would have continued even if the camera crew had not left.)

In any event, since Greenhouse was a marquee participant in the panel, the organizer chose to placate her, and the poor C-SPAN camera crew was sent packing -- probably to cover some legislative subcommittee meeting somewhere.

I would encourage you to read Beckerman's full post. (See "The Greenhouse Effect.") It's an entertaining piece poking fun at the ego of a legal journalist. My personal assistant and I had a good laugh about it before I sent her off to fetch me another chilled bottle of Perrier.

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