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FROM THIS EPISODE

This is Kevin Roderick with LA Observed for KCRW.

The easiest way to keep your finger on the pulse of the local news media these days is, as I've said before, to follow them on Twitter. From the LA Times to the local TV and radio newsrooms, their "news" now goes out to the public as short tweets before it goes on the air or even on their blogs.

And the shorts posts get right to the point, free of excess wordage – and often with more personal point of view than you get later, when the stories are polished and edited.

This morning, what dominated my iPhone and TweetDeck was the sentencing of Phil Spector.

The former music business legend, now 69 years old and pale after a month and a half in jail, was due to finally learn his fate at 11 am.

It's been six years since the actress Lana Clarkson made the horrible mistake of going home with the gnarled, little music man after a night of work at the House of Blues.

Media tweets started flying before 8 am, expectantly announcing that this or that reporter would be in the courtroom Twittering the proceedings.

Michael Linder of KABC radio reported the arrival of Spector wearing a suit.

When Clarkson's mother Donna addressed the court, Linder sent out to the Twitter masses – or at least to his 1,709 followers – a digest of her sad, grieving message.

That the murder left a hole in her heart. That she missed her baby. And that she hoped the judge would be fair in his sentencing.

For a while the lawyers haggled over the nuances of an extra year here or there.

Spector's representative made a tepid push for a new trial, but according to Linder's tweets, only after the judge asked.

In the end, Judge Larry Paul Fidler gave Spector 15 years to life for the killing itself. Plus another four years for use of a gun. Minus credit for the six weeks Spector has been in custody.

Today's sentence means that Spector must spend 19 years behind walls before he even becomes eligible for parole. That would make him 88 years old.

Before he was led away to his new life, Spector got a bill for Clarkson's burial expenses. He never looked back as the deputies guided him out, according to Linder.

The media tweets continued from the news conference. District Attorney Steve Cooley called the outcome satisfactory.

Spector's attorney said that his client didn't kill Lana Clarkson. And Spector's wife apparently wailed that she'd lost her husband and best friend, and that Clarkson's family is unable to accept that she committed suicide.

Absurd, Linder said in his tweet.

Channel 11 reporter Gigi Graciette also sent out a bunch of Twitter messages through the sentencing, starting with a personal comment.

She remembers covering the killing in 2003 and told her Twitter readers that she‘s – quote – "glad justice is finally being served."

She also asked her readers to send in their thoughts on whether Spector will be able to survive even a year in jail.

So here's the thing. I distilled what I know about the Spector sentencing without actually listening to the radio or TV or going to a news web site.

I got the benefit of professional reporters doing what they do, with a little extra bonus of learning how they really feel – without ever being tempted to turn on the station or visit the media outlet that employs them.

No doubt I missed some rich details, but there will be time for those later. IF I still want them by the time they reach the news tonight – or the newspaper tomorrow morning.

Somewhere in there, I have to think there is a big scary lesson for the news media. And they better figure it out, like, right now.

For KCRW, this has been Kevin Roderick with LA Observed.


Banner image: Phil Spector (L) and his attorney Dennis Riordan look on during sentencing in Los Angeles Crimminal Courts today for the February 2003 shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson. Photo: Jae C. Hong-Pool/Getty Images

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