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National media return to Juneau for release of Palin emails

Posted: June 10, 2011 - 8:20pm
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Fox News Channel Producer Corbett Reiner reads over released emails by former Gov. Sarah Palin as they broadcast at the Dimond Courthouse Plaza Friday.  Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Fox News Channel Producer Corbett Reiner reads over released emails by former Gov. Sarah Palin as they broadcast at the Dimond Courthouse Plaza Friday.

It was as if Sarah Palin was governor again Friday.

National media poured into Juneau to obtain her administration’s emails, with edited versions finally released more than two years after her abbreviated term as governor ended.

Reporters and photographers packed the hallway outside the governor’s administrative office, waiting to get their hands on the boxes of records early in the morning.

Outside the building, network television cameras were set up on competing.

“What a circus,” said Sen. Dennis Egan, D-Juneau, as national media jostled for boxes of records for which they’d each paid $725.

The New York Times team hauled its boxes back to the Baranof Hotel, where they holed up for the weekend to page through them.

At Centennial Hall, ProPublica, msnbc.com and Mother Jones set up with teams of volunteers from the League of Women Voters and Retired Public Employees of Alaska others to page through the documents and look for newsworthy tidbits among the chaff

“The volunteers will look for interesting or significant emails, stick a Post-It note on the page, and pass them to journalists from msnbc.com and NBC News,” said Bill Dedman, reporter for msnbc.com.

Among the national journalists in town were NBC’s Michael Isikoff, along with representatives of ABC, Fox, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, along with locally hired stringers for other media and Juneau-based reporters.

Also at Centennial Hall was Crivella West, Inc., a professional document management firm that was scanning and posting the records online for public access.

Company President Arthur Crivella said it was to promote his company’s services, used mostly by law firms and universities.

“We work predominately in the area of mass litigation,” he said. “Pretty much every major case you hear about, we’re involved with in one way or another.”

The company’s other major focus is in scholarship, helping university doctoral candidates and researchers manage and analyze information, he said.

The New York Times was undertaking a similar effort, with a searchable public archive of the emails online.

The email release may have already provided a boost for Juneau’s economy, with numerous journalists and others flying into town for the release.

Crivella said it brought him back to Juneau for a multi-day stay, two weeks after having come through on an Alaskan cruise.

Now, after six days here, he considers himself something of a local.

“Now I’m happy when the boats pull out in the evening and I can go down to the Red Dog or one of the nice restaurants for a quiet meal,” he said.

• Contact reporter Pat Forgey at 523-2250 or at patrick.forgey@juneauempire.com.

 

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