For all the coverage that all-things-related-to-coal gets in the local "newspapers" you would think that they would be giving us daily front-page coverage of what is probably the most important West Virginia trial in decades. Not so. If you want to know what's happening in the Blankenship trial my advice is to go elsewhere. (Check-out, for instance, the WV Public Broadcasting website or the Charleston Gazette-Mail website which features lengthy front-page coverage plus live blogging from the trial itself at its Coal Tattoo blog.)
Today, regular readers of the Intelligencer did learn something about the trial as the Intelligencer published on page 3 a version of the AP story on the trial, "Former Coal Exec Begins Testifying." "Something" may be an overstatement. The original AP story runs 585 words but the Intelligencer chose to use only the first 210 words. (Please note - the link to the online Intelligencer story is an even shorter version of the AP story and it totally eliminates what the witness testified instead concentrating on his past prison term.)
While I don't know for sure, I think that if you were to ask the editors why the AP story was shortened they would probably tell you that news space is finite or limited and there were other important stories that their readers needed to read. Okay, then, what else is on page 3? In addition to three stories continued from page 1 which takes up about 40% of the available space, there are two additional AP stories on the page. The first AP story discusses two new Libyan suspects in the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am jet over Scotland. While this story was also shortened, it includes a picture and together with the article it takes up at least twice as much space as the Blankenship story. The second tells us the earth-shattering news that "Kasich Wants To Balance Budget." It, too, was shortened but even so, it is still longer than the coal story.
So today we learned more about Intelligencer-favorite John Kasich's balanced budget idea and new information surrounding a twenty-seven year old terrorist attack than we did about the ongoing trial of Don Blankenship. And yet the local "newspapers" keep reminding us how they keep us informed. (Aren't we due for yet another self-congratulatory editorial?) Yeah, that's what they're doing -- keeping us informed!