The long-delayed trove of digital correspondence between Sarah Palin and about fifty state officials will finally be released tomorrow. Many are anxious as to what might be revealed in the emails, while some believe that they probably won't provide any new, earth-shattering information.
The emails were requested by many journalists during the 2008 Presidential campaign, as Palin was obviously a big player as the Republican VP candidate. The release of the emails has been delayed on multiple occasions, with Alaska officials saying they didn't have the proper technology to accommodate the requests.
But in January, the Alaska attorney general directed that the emails should be released. And tomorrow, at 9am local time in the capital of Juneau, 24,199 emails will be made public. The emails will cover Palin's time as Governor, spanning from the beginning of 2007 to September of 2008. Current Alaskan's Governor Sean Parnell is keeping some 2,000 emails private.
Many of the major news outlets will have people on the ground tomorrow to begin to go through and analyze the emails for possible stories. Two organizations are requesting the help of amateur journalists to comb through the massive cache.
The Washington Post, on its blog The Fix, has a post today entitled "Help analyze the Palin emails." They are limiting the participants to 100, who will be working in small teams to uncover any important information:
That's a lot of e-mail for us to review so we're looking for some help from Fix readers to analyze, contextualize, and research those e-mails right alongside Post reporters over the days following the release.
We are limiting this to just 100 spots for people who will work collaboratively in small teams to surface the most important information from the e-mails. Participants can join from anywhere with a computer and an Internet connection.
Here's what their request form looks like:
The Washington Post has also set up a Twitter account simply for this purpose. @PalinEmails went live yesterday.
The New York Times is also getting in on the fun, asking readers to help investigate the Palin emails on their politics blog The Caucus.
We’re asking readers to help us identify interesting and newsworthy e-mails, people and events that we may want to highlight. Interested users can fill out a simple form to describe the nature of the e-mail, and provide a name and e-mail address so we’ll know who should get the credit. Join us here on Friday afternoon and into the weekend to participate.
If you requested copies of the Palin emails, they will cost you three cents a page. That adds up to $725.97. They will come in five 55 pound boxes.
Palin herself has commented on the email release, saying that everything there is to know is probably already known. She does have some worries, as she told Fox News host Chris Wallace:
“A lot of those e-mails obviously weren’t meant for public consumption,” she said, and people who read them will “never truly know what the context of each one of the e-mails was.”
This story is bound to become pretty political, and fast. Judging by the comments over on Politico, there is plenty of opinions coming in from both sides regarding the release. Some say that this is an example of the liberal media continuing to hound someone they don't like. Others say that a transparent government is essential to democracy, and if Palin has nothing to hide, she shouldn't be worried.