How about a detailed description of what happened during the minutes following the Supreme Court's release of the Individual Mandate decision?
SCOTUS blog writer Tom Goldstein started with nine thousand words but they were able to whittle it down to seven.
Not since Dewey Defeats Truman has journalism had such a moment. This quickly corrected mistake will be one of the benchmarks in the history of reporting. Here's a snip.
The Supreme Court will not grant SCOTUSblog a press credential. Lyle Denniston is the only member of our team permitted in the press area; he has a press credential because of his reporting for WBUR in Boston. There are six other members of our team nearby, running nine computers on eight separate Internet connections.
Our problem at the moment is that someone is trying to crash the blog. At 10:00 exactly, hackers are launching a "distributed denial of service" with 1,000 page views per second to try and bring us down. It does not work; our tremendous Deputy Manager Max Mallory has spent months augmenting our capacity, and the hackers give up after a few minutes. We do not know how many readers are on the Live Blog for the opinion announcement; our data at the time indicates it is rapidly approaching one million. During the day, we will receive 5.3 million hits (more than ten times our all-time daily high) from 1.7 million unique readers.
Here is a glimpse of Lyle Dennison, 81 years old.
But Denniston, who has covered the Supreme Court for 54 years for various newspapers and now for SCOTUSblog, was charmingly unaware of his fan club in an interview with Yahoo News last week:
Yahoo News: Did you know that a group of reporters was trying to get your name to trend on Twitter today?
Lyle Denniston: They were trying to do what?
YN: They were writing "team Lyle" on Twitter to get your name to show up on the site as most talked about.
LD: Oh really? Well I'm an old guy so I don't understand that kind of thing. I guess it's positive, right?
YN: Yes, definitely.
LD: Ok, that's good.
Denniston is a sober voice of reason and depth in a sometimes untrustworthy and superficial world of Supreme Court reporting, when short-timers (like myself!) descend for a few big-ticket cases and then flit away again. But what's earned Denniston even more fandom than his encyclopedic knowledge of the Supreme Court docket is how quickly and generously he shares what he knows on SCOTUSblog. Many reporters who don't personally go to the Supreme Court press room to await paper copies of decisions rely on Denniston to be the first to report the outcome, and to post the actual decision online. Denniston says he enjoys this collaborative approach, rather than jealously guarding the news.