Here in Vancouver, the biggest news story remains the trial of Robert William Picton on six counts of (particularly gruesome) murder. It is sensational stuff: Picton has been linked as a suspect in the murder of as many as 49 women.

Local media is all over the story (so much so that there’s been blowback from viewers and readers who feel they are overdoing it). Some of the most interesting stuff is being done by one of the smaller players, the freesheet 24 Hours. Their Drupal-powered Picton coverage site, features blog-style regular trial coverage, videocasts, background information and more. The coverage is being provided by two reporters. Given that freesheet newsroom are small, that’s a significant commitment.

(Some disclosures here: Matt Kieltyka, one of the two reporters, is a former student of mine. Ian King, both a journalist and a techie, is the man behind the site and someone I’ve had lunch and beer with. Ian writes about the 24 Hour site here.)

The 24 Hour site is impressive for its coverage and for showing what a small news operation, driven by a desire to do more with daily journalism, can do. The site doesn’t have the depth provided by the city’s big, resource-rich daily, The Vancouver Sun, but the innovative use of the blog form, podcasts and video show how the new tools can be used in the service of good journalism.

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