"The Digital Revolution In Reverse"
June 10, 2011 9:25 AM Subscribe
"Mother Jones [and, later, other media outlets] requested [Sarah] Palin's gubernatorial emails during the 2008 election. Almost three years later, the wait is over. ... Today, at [1:00 pm ET] in Juneau, the state of Alaska is scheduled to release 24,199 pages of emails Sarah Palin sent and received during her half-term as governor of the Last Frontier. State workers will distribute six-box sets and hand trucks (which must be returned) to representatives of a dozen or so media outfits" "Volunteers from the League of Women Voters and the Retired Public Employees of Alaska will be at Juneau's Centennial Hall convention center ... look[ing] for any significant or interesting emails, stick a post-it note on the page, and pass them to journalists, who also will be reading through the 24,000 pages. Exact copies of the best of those emails will be posted online immediately. ... In the same room ... a second set of the documents will be scanned for msnbc.com by Crivella West, an analytics and investigative-research company from Pittsburgh, returning the records to their original electronic form, allowing anyone anywhere to join in the crowdsourcing. That free, public, searchable archive will go online, sometime later on Friday, at http://palinemail.msnbc.msn.com." "The Washington Post is looking for '100 organized and diligent readers' to work with reporters to 'analyze, contextualize, and research the emails.' The New York Times is employing a similar system.'"*
"Palin was governor for 966 days, before ending her term abruptly. As of Friday, [the various media outlets'] request for public records was pending for 997 days.
At $725.97 for the latest set of documents, that price is a bargain, only 3 cents a page for the photocopying, compared with the state's first cost estimate of $15 million for search and copying costs during the 2008 campaign, when officials were flustered by the burst of attention focused on their governor. At that point Crivella West offered to do the work for the state for free. The state didn't respond to the offer, but msnbc.com teamed up with the company to plan an online archive.
Executives in the office of the current governor, Sean Parnell, Palin's former lieutenant governor, said they could not figure out how to release the electronic records in an electronic form, not after certain records had to be printed so portions could be blacked out or withheld entirely."*
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