MEDIA madness broke out in Los Angeles as the verdict was announced. Hundreds of journalists had gathered at Camp O. J., the focal point of news coverage for the double murder trial just outside the Los Angeles courthouse where the drama has been played out for the past 161 days. Chequebook journalism went into overdrive, with members of the jurors' families being offered tens of thousands of US dollars for the jurors' exclusive stories. Judge Lance Ito, who has presided over the proceedings, had wanted to instruct jurors not to discuss the case after it was over, but legal experts advised him such an instruction would be against the American constitution and, if not illegal, certainly unenforceable. Book-deal contracts have been drafted and were ready for signature as soon as the jurors walked out of the courthouse door. 'This is a huge story,' said Bill Lord, director of American TV network NBC's local news programming in Los Angeles. 'It has the potential to be one of the most-viewed events in the history of the planet. There are so many people and so much to be done that no one interview will be the defining moment.' Making the running for the American tabloid press was the Florida-based Globe, which only this week published the never-before seen pictures of the corpses of the football star's former wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman. The Globe was relying on its chequebook and staff of 30 to 50 reporters to bag the very best and juiciest interviews with case lawyers, jurors and celebrities involved with the trial. How much would the Globe pay? 'How high is up?' editor Dan Dolan asked. 'We will top any offers by our competition. Call us last - we'll beat them.' Recently the Globe coverage has been spearheaded by Tony Frost, an established British journalist who has broken many of the O. J. Simpson stories. 'We're covering this like a blanket,' Mr Dolan added. 'It's no-holds-barred sumo wrestling.' From network television news shows to tabloids to mainstream daily newspapers, media outlets pulled out the stops this morning to get the story behind the headlines. The New York Post deployed an army of reporters who expected to work the next 72 hours without sleep to get the sexiest interviews. 'I expect O. J. will dominate the front page for four to five days, so it'll be a wall-to-wall blitz - no sleeping, no eating,' said Post reporter Bill Hoffman. Gail Evans, a CNN senior vice-president, said: 'There's nobody involved in this case who we don't have a request in for.' Although jurors' identities have been kept confidential by the court until now, some news organisations have used demographic information gathered from questioning to identify the panellists. Some even hired private investigators to identify each member of the jury ahead of time so that cash offers could be made in advance. The verdict may be in and the trial by jury over but the trial by the media has only just begun.