As a resident of Cincinnati, Ohio it is only natural to hear news about local trials within the area and some of them have been very emotionally draining. I am an avid Cincinnati, Ohio news follower, so it is only natural I have followed one of the most interesting murder cases ever. Today, the outcome of the trial was read and I can not help but feel more emotionally attached than before.
Local 12 news reports that today, Ryan Widmer was convicted for the 2008 murder of his wife Sarah Widmer and sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. Ryan was distraught and visibly shaken as the verdict was read this afternoon and stayed bent at the waist unable to move. This is not the first trial for Ryan who is now 30; in fact this was his third trial. The first trial he was found guilty but later the verdict was thrown out because of jury misconduct and his second trial concluded with a hung jury.
This has been probably one of the most gut-wrenching and emotionally draining trials to ever happen in Mason, Ohio which is north of Cincinnati, Ohio. People from all backgrounds are coming together in defense of who they believe, whether it is the prosecution or defense. The court cases of Ryan have also been followed by Dateline, allowing it to gain national attention. For those of us who live near Cincinnati, Ohio this has been nothing short of grueling and very tiresome. So many people around here are emotionally attached to Ryan and this case, due to a live blog of the trial by various local news outlets. These news outlets have provided people from all over the world the ability to follow each trial, which were not broadcasted live. Each trial has had its own twists and turns and the live blog was there the whole time, providing insight for those curious about the case.
You can poll a number of people and they will all tell you a different answer as to whether Ryan really did commit the act of murder. I can not help but to wonder whether the live blog has made people, including myself, more emotionally attached. It is a common notion that you will be watching the live blog of Ryan’s trial while at work, and bosses everywhere seem to be okay with that. Personally, I have been following the blog of his trial since day one of trial one, and have only become more invested over time. Whether you agree with the verdict or not, the live blog has provided us a rare insight into a high-profile murder trial. The live blog has shown insight into what questions are asked to find the jury, and how these questions shape what is ahead for the trial. The local news has given people from Cincinnati, Ohio and elsewhere insight into a very dark and emotional situation through their blog.
Supporters for Ryan and for Sarah have come out in droves because of these live blogs, and have supported each side in numerous ways. I can not help but to wonder if live blogging of a trial is what will be our future in the news industry, and wonder how it will affect people across the spectrum. Blogging a trial is a great way to let people know what is going on regardless of whether the cameras are allowed to film or not and this is a great idea. I do however think that it allows us to become more emotionally involved in a situation where we might not have otherwise, which can be good or bad. Today for example, I was so distraught and angry when I heard the guilty verdict that I almost vomited. I have never felt so strongly about a murder case or a man’s innocence until this case, and it is all because I got to read the facts on the live blog. The blog allows you to read the testimony from both sides and then reach your own conclusion, so it is unbiased and balanced. Reading the blogs also allow you the chance to interpret data and evidence presented as if you were really sitting in the courtroom, which is really nice if you are interested in the law. There are always positive and negative aspects to court cases and how they are reported but I feel the live blog was a great opportunity. With a good moderator who does not inject their own personal comments and who keeps things on an even keel, it seems this will be the way to see all court trials eventually. So it begs the question, does live blogging of a murder trial make you feel more of an emotional attachment? In the case of Ryan and his three trials, I believe the only response to that is yes, you feel empathy for both sides and it creates a huge emotional attachment regardless of the outcome.
Local 12 News Staff, “Jury: Ryan Widmer Guilty of Murder”, Local 12 News
Personal feelings on the case and live blog