Lack of national media frenzy over Casey Anthony juror names may show judge's delay worked
Local news outlets flew into action Tuesday, after officials released the names of jurors who acquitted Orlando-area mother Casey Anthony in the murder of her 2-year-old child. Reporters knocked on doors and reached out to neighbors, focused on trying to get any juror who hadn't spoken publicly to come forward now.
But given the lack of interest nationally in the names of these jurors -- withheld for three months due to a judge order -- one can conclude that Judge Belvin Perry achieved his goal, keeping the names out of the public space long enough that many outlets had lost interest and those affected had time to plan for the publicity.
CNN's HLN channel, one of the media outlets which most aggressively covered the Anthony trial, spent much of Tuesday on the trial of Michael Jackson's former doctor. Conrad Murray. Star Nancy Grace noted on the show's blog that a producer spoke to the jury foreman, who declined to go on camera; other jurors could be reached.
At the St. Petersburg Times, the newspaper hasn't published a story on the release of names, in part, because no new jurors are willing to talk, said Jennifer Orsi, assistant managing editor, metro. " We did not see the news value in simply listing their names without their stories attached, so we did not," she said. "If any of the jurors were involved in something newsworthy in the future, we might well choose to note their role in the Casey Anthony case. We have no prohibition on running their names. We just chose not to at this point. One factor that played into that decision was the threats and anger displayed by some members of the public to these people."
The Poynter Institute, the school for journalists which owns the St. Petersburg Times, noted that about half of area news organizations published the jurors names, including TBO.com, the website maintained by The Tampa Tribune and WFLA-Ch. 8, local cable newschannel Bay News 9 and CBS affiliate WTSP-Ch. 10.
But in its story on the release of names this morning, NBC's Today show noted that many prospective jurors don't realize their names will eventually be released publicly. The reporter, Kerry Sanders, also didn't name the jurors while reporting from Pinellas County.
Ire is still visible online against the jurors, where Facebook pages with names such as "The 12 Casey Anthony Jurors are an Embarrassment to America," posted the names as soon as they became publicly available.
The question which remains; How will the names of jurors be handled in the future, given that the judge here seems to have achieved his goal in at least partially protecting those connected to the Anthony case from worldwide media scrutiny?