Sarah Palin Emails Are a Group Job; Huffington Post Passes New York Times in Traffic


We mentioned last week that a large portion of all the emails Sarah Palin sent in her half-term as governor of Alaska are finally being made public long after a few publications requested them via open records laws back in 2008. It’s now being reported that the mother-load will drop tomorrow. MSNBC, ProPublica and Mother Jones are partnering on the job of slogging through the (doubtlessly typo-ridden) emails, which total near 25,000 pages, and the combining of efforts will include a WikiLeaks-like searchable archive. So you can help too! But don’t expect any compensation. Find out more in Press Clips, our daily media column, plus HuffPo’s killer traffic month and the New York Times‘ testy response. But wait, there’s more!

Sharing, Caring: In addition to the aforementioned media partnership for the Palin emails, both the New York Times and Washington Post are plotting their attack on the endless pile.

On the Caucus blog, the Times basically begs for help:

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.

The Post has an almost identical request, but they’re making it more exclusive:

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. Read more about how it will work.

But then they added, “We have had a strong response to our crowdsourcing call-out on the Palin e-mails. We’ve reconsidered our approach and now would like to invite comments and annotations from any interested readers.”

No word on pay for the helpers from either major newspaper, but consider it great resume material, a chance to get your name out there, a way to meet future connections, get clips and that sort of thing.

Top of the Pops: The Atlantic Wire’s Adam Clark Estes reports that got more traffic in the month of May than, counting 35.5 million unique visitors to the Times‘ 33.59, according to comScore.

The narrative here is about Arianna Huffington’s ongoing battle with Times (outgoing) executive editor Bill Keller, who trashed HuffPo in a column earlier this year. Since, Huffington has somehow made herself seem like the scrappy underdog (she’s not, really), and also landed a few blows by hiring away some Times reporters in the wake of her sale to AOL, as she attempts to build a reputable journalistic institution.

Of course, traffic doesn’t equal credibility and this quantitative victory — perhaps an isolated one considering how many sites had record months — still only means something to the nerdiest of industry watchdogs, if even them. That said, it softens a bad meta-media news week for HuffPo among that same set of observers.

And the Times, via their communications team on Twitter, automatically went on the defensive. “HuffPo traffic is now combined with AOL, so it’s two sites in one. @nytimes is still the place readers go for high-quality news,” reads one dispatch this afternoon, followed by, “And looking at trending data, May was a good month for @nytimes. We’re up in uniques from last month and year-over-year.”

New Lady: Also in Timesland, soon-to-be executive editor Jill Abramson started tweeting today, promising, “More later…”

Her very next dispatch was in response to Reuters’ Felix Salmon, who wrote, “What’s the over/under on when @JillAbramson’s first tweet will arrive? I’m betting not until September, when she takes over from @nytkeller,” only to get a “wrong!” straight from Abramson herself. That bodes well for online interaction!

(Keller, currently in the top spot at the paper, has tweeted only 28 times since May of 2009, and notably wrote a column about how the service sucks souls.)

In a related tidbit via Jezebel, Eileen Shanahan, the Times‘ first female reporter in Washington “to report on something other than first ladies,” remembers a meeting from her 1961 job interview with Managing Editor Clifton Daniel:

I said, “Oh, Mr. Daniels, all I want to be is the best reporter and you can’t be the best reporter unless you’re at the best newspaper, and that’s the New York Times.”

He replied, “That’s good, because I can assure you that no woman will ever be an editor at the New York Times.” The year is 1961. It wasn’t illegal. People said things like that in those days. The law of course that made it illegal to say things like that was passed in ’64, but it didn’t begin to be litigated until the early ’70s. So that’s the way it was.

Shanahan didn’t live to see Abramson’s appointment, but let’s dedicate the Felix Salmon zing above to her.

Listings: As long as you can accept a salary of $30,000, you too can run a magazine. And with little-to-no experience!