Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa 1

Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa, site of the annual State Bar of Arizona Convention, June 19-21, 2013.

This is annual Convention week at the State Bar of Arizona. As always, a dizzying array of educational seminars (and fun activities) are packed into the three-day event held in Phoenix at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa.

More detail about the Convention is here.

Over the years, Arizona Attorney Magazine staff have covered the heck out of the annual event, and this year will be the same. In a later post, I’ll detail some of the tools I lug about to do just that.

As in the past, we will not print a once-a-day hard-copy “Convention Daily.” Instead, we will cover Convention news closer to real time. We will use multiple channels to communicate what’s going on. But the surest way to be sure you see everything is to follow us on Twitter. My name in Twitter is @azatty. You can view all the evolving content here (or at https://twitter.com/azatty, to be specific). I will be tagging everything with the hashtag #azbarcon – so be sure to search for that.

Want to participate? Send me brief stories or story suggestions. Or if you have convention photos, we’d be glad to share them with readers.

And don’t forget to tweet from convention. Use the hashtag #azbarcon.

Questions or suggestions? Reach the Editor, Tim Eigo, on-site at the Biltmore, at 602-908-6991.

And always feel free to stroll up and say hello. I’ll be hiking all over the Biltmore to cover the goings-on. Or you may catch me at the Arizona Attorney table in the Exhibitor area. If you miss me there, leave your card or a note.

Everett Dirksen

“A billion here, a billion there. Pretty soon you’re talking about real money.”

Illinois senator Everett Dirksen may or may not have uttered that pithy phrase. But either way, it came to mind as I read the news yesterday afternoon that a jury had returned a $10 million verdict against Taser International.

Even in today’s inflated world, I think of that as a lot of money. And so I expected pretty solid coverage of the jury’s decision.

I needed that because I wanted to link to the news on the brand-new Arizona Attorney Magazine News Center. Taser’s an Arizona company, they came up on the short end of a legal case, it all made newsy sense.

But as I searched for a solid story on it, all I came up with were … company press releases.

The first link I saw came from a respected business weekly. The headline about $10 million grabbed me. But the story sounded like Taser’s PR department had penned it. It appeared to be factual, but the entire focus was on the number of jury verdicts they have won, and on the plaintiff arguments that the jury rejected.

Hmm, I thought. There has to be something better out there.

But after about 30 minutes of searching, I’ve come across the same release about 20 times, all posted as news by multiple publishers. I really have to hand it to Taser’s web-optimization people.

This occurred the same day that news-ish mogul Rupert Murdoch was hammered with a cream pie as he testified to Parliament. We here in the States appear to take great pride in the assertion that journalists here would never engage in such phone-hacking behavior.

Rupert Murdoch's hit a bad patch.

I think they’re right. But our web-ified news regime deserves a cream pie of its own. Passing off press releases as news was considered poor form even before the Internet. But the Web has intensified the scramble for content. And corporate PR mills appear happy to fill the gap.

As for linking to the story, I’ve decided to wait 24 hours. I’m sure I’ll find something of value tomorrow. It’ll keep.

This past week, the State Bar of Arizona—and I—were pleased to announce the launch of the Arizona Attorney Magazine News Center. It is your online portal to legal news from the state and the world. It also includes video and a growing network of bloggers who are Arizona lawyers.

All of the stories and links are selected daily in-house. So if you want to see more (or less) of something, write to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org. And do the same if you’d like your blog listed; we include your link and photo, and you can watch your traffic build.

Some of you know that the site has been live for just over a month, but we wanted to be sure it all works and works well. Now, we share it with the world!

Click here to read the entire press release.

And—more important—click here to go to the News Center, where you can bookmark it or get our RSS feed.

It’s easy to remember! azbar.org/newscenter