Readers' Representative Journal

A conversation on newsroom ethics and standards

Category: Politics

Coverage of Palin emails draws shrugs and accusations

Email On Friday, the state of Alaska released more than 24,000 pages of emails sent and received by Sarah Palin during her term as governor. The Times published those emails in a database, Sarah Palin emails: The Alaska Archive.

The Times has come under criticism for publishing the emails, as have other major news organizations that received the government documents under a public records request made in 2008 after Palin was named John McCain's vice presidential running mate.

Some readers, like Marcia Goodman of Long Beach, just weren't interested in the documents. "Why does anyone care what a former governor and never-will-be presidential candidate said several years ago?" Goodman wrote to The Times.

Edward Golden of Northridge called the exercise much ado about nothing. "Fifty-three inches of space on a non-story about Palin's mundane emails," Golden wrote. "And your point is?"

And William deLorimier of San Gabriel saw a double standard by The Times. "I really question your journalistic standards when you show so much glee in the release of Sarah Palin's emails while she was governor of Alaska," deLorimier emailed. "I wish you people would show more journalistic tenacity in retrieving the current president's transcripts from Occidental College, Columbia University and Harvard Law School."

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L.A. Times to post database of Palin emails

Palin-office

As Washington bureau reporter Matea Gold reported, the state of Alaska is scheduled to release more than 24,000 pages of Sarah Palin's emails Friday from her time as governor.

The Times' Data Desk has created a database, Sarah Palin's emails: The Alaska Archive, where readers will be able to view and search through the documents. (Alaska is releasing the emails in print form, so The Times will scan each of the documents and post them.) 

The emails will span the beginning of Palin's term, in December 2006, through Sept. 30, 2008, which is when media outlets requested them. It has taken since that time to fulfill the records request.

The Times and the Tribune Washington Bureau submitted a request this spring for the rest of Palin's emails from her term as governor, but Alaska has not said when it would release correspondence from after Sept. 30, 2008.

--Deirdre Edgar

Photo: Sarah Palin in her Anchorage office in November 2008. Credit: Al Grillo / Associated Press

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