The State of Alaska released 24,000 emails from former Gov. Palin’s government and personal email accounts Friday. That is a lot of email — but the problem for those looking for an instant analysis is that the state of Alaska only released hard copies.
Not only does each copy of the email trove weigh 250 pounds, you either have to travel to Juneau, Alaska, to read them, or pay to have them shipped to you.
As a result, reporters have flocked to Juneau in a race to get the documents back in searchable, digital format. SarahPAC, Palin’s political action committee, released a statement encouraging people to read the emails, which span from December 2006 through Sept. 30, 2008.
“The thousands upon thousands of emails released today show a very engaged Gov. Sarah Palin being the CEO of her state,” said SarahPAC treasurer Tim Crawford. “The emails detail a governor hard at work. Everyone should read them.”
Media organizations requested the emails in 2008. Mother Jones’ David Corn details his account of his effort to gain access to the emails in this story.
To sift through the documents as quickly as possible, news organizations are turning to crowdsourcing and collaboration as they create online databases of the material.
We’ve gathered a list of some of the news sites that are analyzing the documents and/or asking their readers for help.
ProPublica/MSNBC.com/Mother Jones: These organizations are working together with a company called Crivella West to feed all the emails into searchable database. ProPublica also has a good reader’s guide to the email dump and database project. They encourage you to use #palinemail on Twitter to follow that email conversation.
The Los Angeles Times has a searchable database and Facebook-integrated comments section.
The Washington Post also asks readers to help them comb through the messages. The Post originally wanted to limit the number of contributors to 100, but decided to invite anyone comment on the emails after a wave of criticism about the policy. The are tweeting to the hashtag #palinemails.