The Amanda Knox lottery

October 13, 2011

By Alessandro Bianchi

On my mind was the number 77; the number of my press badge and the number I gave to police to get through security at the entrance to the court house.

Within a few minutes, the stepladders of photographers and television crews formed a pyramid that could block your view if you had chosen the wrong place. It was like a lottery and you had to wait to see if you had picked the right number.

The day before the verdict in the Amanda Knox appeal trial there were so many of us that the public, almost as if we were part of a show, pulled on our shirts and moved our ladders so they could see. The public were, after all, invading our 15 minutes, our sacred 15 minutes.

Throughout the trial, from afternoon to late night the lawyers could be seen in the center of the city, so during the four years we were able to establish a relationship with them and talk about our news organization, which may not necessarily be known by everyone in the Italian provinces.

We used these contacts later to reach an agreement with the president of the court to work out a pool system (sharing of images between agreed agencies) for the reading of the appeals verdict.

The unique aspect of this experience was the atmosphere of a medieval city, one often covered by fog during cold winters and populated year-round by foreign students who walked with books during the day and filled the pubs at night.

Inevitably, I had my own ideas and opinions about the relationship between Raffaele and Amanda and what really happened during this murder, which still remains a mystery.

Even for someone like me, who is physically imposing and no stranger to covering violent crimes, the whole atmosphere left me in a strange state of fear and unease.

Now that the story is over, my “war” to get good pictures has ended. It ended well overall for me — even though I still can feel the sting of a lost battle or two.

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