It seems that the media are more than a little concerned that the authorities, in Santa Maria, may be "killing the golden goose"; by the excessive media fees being charged to be "in situ" during the Michael Jackson trial.
The main fee being charged by Santa Barbara County to the TV and newspapers, is the $800K "pay for viewing" fee.
No unreasonably the local officials point out that if the costs of holding this "mega trial" are not recouped, then the local taxpayer will be footing the bill.
The media point out that this could be the "thin end of the wedge", in that free access to trials may be blocked in the future; by the arbitrary imposition of a "viewing tax".
The costs per day, pretrial, run at around $125 per court day for each newspaper and $300 for each national television outfit. So far, Santa Barbara County had collected $114K for pretrial coverage.
The costs per day of the trial itself are $7500, and are broken down as follows:
-$4,300 for 6-7 sheriff's deputies to manage the press
-$1,200 for maintenance workers, custodians and management
-$2,000 for barriers etc
Additionally, Santa Maria expects to take in $36K a month renting parking and office space to national media outlets.
Local hotels will do well, as their rooms are booked solid; local bars and restaurants may reasonably expect good times in the next few months. Journalists are, by nature, a thirsty and hungry tribe!
However, let us not shed too many tears for the media; they will make a considerable fortune from sponsorship and selling on their stories.