The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Joseph Slobodzian has been covering the trial of Kermit Gosnell in Philadelphia since jury selection. And over those weeks of trial coverage, Slobodzian hasn’t had to worry too much about getting a seat in the courtroom.
Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart, says Slobodzian, has cordoned off three rows of seats for media representation, perhaps in anticipation of widespread interest in the case, which started on March 18. “We’ve never come close to filling” the space, says the 61-year-old Slobodzian. Even after last week’s media-wide discussion over rampant Gosnell undercoverage, says Slobodzian, there was still “plenty of open space” yesterday in the area reserved for media organizations. Nor was the non-media part of the courtroom at capacity by any means, he reports.
“I don’t know whether it’s the subject matter or what it is,” says Slobodzian. “For TV stations, one problem is that Pennsylvania doesn’t permit cameras in the courtroom. Also, it’s a 6-8 week trial, which is an extraordinary commitment.” There are other theories out there as well.
Though Slobodzian thinks it’s “surprising” that the case hadn’t gotten more attention, “I’ve been so focused on doing my job that I don’t have a lot of time to think who’s here and who’s not and why. It’s not my day to watch them,” he says of other outlets.