Live-tweeting the news: Spotlight on Post courts reporter Susan Spencer-Wendel

UPDATE 7/5/11: Susan has won first place in the 2011 Florida Society of News Editors’ Journalism Contest for Use of Social Media in Breaking News! Congratulations Susan!


Susan Spencer-Wendel, courts reporter for The Palm Beach Post for more than a decade, tweets live from trials as @SpenWen.

In 2009, Susan played a role in media-law history when The Palm Beach Post requested on her behalf – and won – clearance from a federal judge for reporters to tweet from court in the Southern District of Florida.

Last year, Susan continued the momentum by establishing herself as the must-follow source in South Florida for courtroom happenings and notable moments, big and small.

In June 2010, she live-tweeted from the trial of D’Andre Bannister, accused (and later convicted) of beating his 4-year-old stepson, Tarquez Woodson (right), to death.

It had taken eight years to bring the man to trial.

Like all of Susan’s live tweets from big trials, her updates from the closing day of the Bannister case, June 24, were embedded on the home page of PalmBeachPost.com.

Susan’s tweets not only broke news, including the verdict, much more quickly than traditional web story updates can, but she captured a texture and a sense of place at the courthouse that typical web updates often lack.

When the verdicts were read, she broadcast them instantaneously, not only to her followers but, because of the widget in place, directly to The Post’s homepage.

Leading up to the trial’s closing day, Susan tweeted an exchange with the defense attorney, who had failed to mention in his closing statement a key piece of evidence: handprints on the child.

Susan captured many such moments in real time:






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1 Comment

Filed under Social media, Twitter

One response to “Live-tweeting the news: Spotlight on Post courts reporter Susan Spencer-Wendel

  1. Pingback: Live-blogging from court – using CoveritLive – invites readers to interact with the news | Web Up the Newsroom

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