A Trial in Tweets

By: Austin Hess

The trial of Dzhokar Tsarnaev for the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings and murder of MIT police officer Sean Collier is now in its third week. Following a weeks long process in which the court struggled to find a sufficiently impartial jury from the Boston area, the prosecution has been quickly presenting its case about events that April.

The testimony is often emotional and dramatic, and never-before seen evidence is released daily. The trial officially has two stages — one to determine Tsarnaev’s guilt, and one where the same jury will decide whether to impose the death penalty if he is convicted. But with a defendant whose own defense admits that “he did it,” it is clear that both sides are subtly maneuvering for the upper hand in the sentencing phase.

Numerous journalist from a variety of local and national media outlets are covering the trial, and many are live-tweeting the events of the trial from the courtroom and media viewing room. Some push dozens of tweets a day, reacting to new evidence and gruesome accounts with a mixture of professional reporting and a more personal touch.

The tweets that follow were chosen automatically by having substantially more retweets than usual for the user who posted them and are meant to represent the trial from its start. I compiled a list of all the journalists I knew of who were live-tweeting the trial to compile the list of users to get the tweets.