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As they come, this judicial first wasn’t exactly front-page news — that is, if you are still in the habit of reading a quaint, old-fashioned newspaper. But in cyberspace the decision of the U.S. District Court to include bloggers as bona fide members of the press pool during the recent “Scooter” Libby trial was big news. For the first time ever in a federal court case, bloggers were officially welcomed as equals with newspaper and broadcast reporters, albeit in a little room down the hall from the actual trial in Courtroom 16.

It took the Media Bloggers Association two years of negotiations with court officials to win the right to join the media frenzy. Kim Pearson, a professor at the College of New Jersey, was among the vanguard who took a turn in the press pool. According to Pearson, Judge Reggie Walton’s decision to allow bloggers to participate in the trial opened “a new chapter in the debate over the legitimacy of bloggers as gatherers and disseminators of news.”

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