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Non-stop local press coverage for high profile murder trial

One of the biggest murder trials of recent years has meant unprecedented coverage for two daily papers.

Reporters at the Evening Star and the East Anglian Daily Times – who work from the same Ipswich office – have been working flat out to cover the trial of Steve Wright.

Former Ipswich publican Wright, (49), is accused of murdering five prostitutes in the Suffolk town between October and December 2006.

The papers have joined forces and dispatched four reporters to court to provide rolling copy for the two websites and newspapers.

Web editor James Goffin said: “The Evening Star had a special edition in print with the early activity in court.

“We’ve also had video of Steve Wright’s arrival in court online within an hour of him getting there.

“We had four reporters there – two actually in court and two manning our one seat in a special room with a video relay.

“We’ve got a laptop with a mobile connection so they can send copy straight from court to the website.”

Evening Star editor Nigel Pickover said that extra copies would most likely be printed as the trial progressed.

“All newspapers operate a ‘box-out’ operation when there is a big story happening in their patch,” he said.

“The numbers of extra copies will depend on any given day and the evidence given before the jury. Yesterday we printed a few thousand extras, it may be more, or less, as the trial continues.

“We’re expecting increased sales both in print and online – with the two totals combined we’re expecting major audience growth.

“In print we won’t be able to assess any sales rise for a few days but regarding our extensive online operation we can monitor audience levels hour-by-hour.

“Some of the on-line content will differ from print, some will remain on our website throughout the trial and the newspaper will rely on day-to-day coverage. There are no barriers between print and web in our operations.”

  • Online map of the key crime scenes
  • The papers have carried extensive backgrounders to the case while readers can view online interactive maps of the crime scenes and a timeline of the key moments in the case. The websites will have brief live updates throughout the day.

    The websites could expect around 40,000 page impressions each on a normal day but estimated that this figure would double during the trial.

  • Website visitors can use an interactive timeline of the story
  • The story created widespread national media attention at the time.

    Now the two Archant titles are having to wrestle for space with dozens of journalists as the country’s media descends on Ipswich once again.

    The trial, expected to be one of the biggest in British legal history, is due to last up to eight weeks.

    The media attention is so great that journalists unable to secure a seat in court are watching proceedings on two big screens outside in an annexe.

    Photographers and television crews took up a strategic position outside court in a specially-erected press pen. Other media took up a spot behind the police barriers on the other side of the road.

    The Suffolk police helicopter kept a bird’s eye view of the scene while Sky and BBC staff hovered above the court in their own helicopters.

    Yesterday 114 potential jurors were whittled down to 24 after being asked if they knew any victims or witnesses in the case.

    Ten men and two women were sworn in to form the jury, with the others remaining as reserves in case some drop out.

    Potential jurors had to fill in a questionnaire which also asked whether they had connections to certain occupations or the media.

    Wright denies all five charges of murder.