New York stations cut into their regular programming on Friday, around 11:40 a.m., to bring live coverage of the verdict in the Rutgers webcam spying case.
As the jury read its decision, WCBS, WABC, WNBC, and WNYW all carried the verdict live. The defendant in the case, former Rutgers student Dharun Ravi, was convicted of hate crimes, but found not guilty on several accounts.
While every station shared the same footage from inside the courtroom, WCBS provided perhaps the most memorable image of the verdict as the station juxtaposed Ravi’s face, as he awaited the jury’s verdict, with home video of his deceased roommate, Tyler Clementi, playing the violin.
After WCBS’s Christine Sloan reported on the verdict via phone from the courthouse, the station promptly cut to CBS’s coverage of the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament at noon.
WABC and WNBC were afforded a particular advantage in their coverage of the verdict since both stations were set to air their regular noon newscasts. WABC had attorney Gregory Gianforcaro in its studio to provide legal analysis, while WNBC relied on reporters Katherine Craig and Brian Thompson, who appeared live from outside the courthouse, for a recap of the jury’s decision.
On WNYW, criminal defense attorney Randy Zelin spoke with morning anchors Greg Kelly and Rosanna Scotto and described the verdict as a “stunning” end to the trial. Reporter Christine Persichette, who was inside the courtroom when the verdict was read, appeared live to describe the mood inside the room. The Fox O&O went back to regularly scheduled programming (“Inside Edition”) around 12:15.