User comments sway a trial’s change of venue

By Steve Outing

A long-running soap opera legal case here in Boulder involves the Midyettes, a couple whose 10-week-old baby died. Molly Midyette is serving a jail term for not preventing the death of her son, while Alex Midyette is set to stand trial for child abuse resulting in death.

This week, Alex Midyette was granted a change of venue for his trial, due to the intense publicity surrounding the case. Just as with the fabled Jonbenet Ramsey case (Boulder’s most notorious criminal mystery), it’s just about impossible to find anyone in Boulder without knowledge of the Midyette case — and probably an opinion about Alex’s guilt, given his wife’s conviction.

Daily Camera commenters haven’t been reticent in expressing their opinions

What’s interesting about this change of venue is that the court cited Internet comments on local news websites (mostly the Boulder Daily Camera) and blogs as a primary reason for moving proceedings out of Boulder County, along with traditional media coverage. This may be the first time a court has relied so heavily on online comments to news stories in such a decision; it certainly won’t be the last.

The Camera’s Zak Brown covered the issue in this story, which includes a short quote from me.

Author: Steve Outing Steve Outing is a Boulder, Colorado-based media futurist, digital-news innovator, consultant, journalist, and educator. ... Need assistance with media-company future strategy? Get in touch with Steve!