By Carole on Jun 10, 2011
And they're off! Alaskan officials have just released 24,000 pages of e-mails sent and received by Sarah Palin during her first 21 months as Governor of that state. Now the digging starts as once noble journalistic institutions are asking their customers to do their job for them. Is this an indication of the media's future or is it another example of media bias against Mrs. Palin?
"Help Us Review the Sarah Palin E-Mail Records" shouted a recent New York Times headline. The solicitation stated that the Times is "asking readers to help us identify interesting and newsworthy e-mails, people and events that we may want to highlight." (source) In exchange for doing the well-paid alleged journalists' work, anyone who fills out the online form with some information the Times "may want to highlight" will get credit.
The Washington Post, once internationally renowned for the investigative talents of Woodward & Bernstein, is also inviting readers to view the e-mails and then "comment on the most interesting or most noteworthy sections." They also ask readers to "please include page numbers and, where possible, a direct excerpt. (source)
Perhaps modern technology not only allows for such "crowdsourcing" it demands it. In order to keep up with the volume and speed of new information, professional news organizations need the help that an army of online amateurs can and want to provide. I just hope that these organizations are not politically selective in their zeal to solicit those armies. The Governor Palin e-mail document release may be the first of many widespread uses of crowdsourcing or it may simply be the latest attempt by the mainstream media to target Mrs. Palin by any means they deem necessary.
I'm sure I'll be reading whatever the Times, the Post and their minions "want to highlight" in the coming days, but as for scouring 24,000 pages of what will most likely be mundane operational missives, I think I'll wait for the movie.
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