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Washington Post, NY Times Invite You to Help Dig Through Sarah Palin's E-mails


A bizarre contest of sorts...

Want to find dirt on Sarah Palin? If you answered affirmatively, you may want to turn to The Washington Post or The New York Times for help.

Last week, we reported on the impending release of more than 24,000 pages of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's e-mails. We also told you about the archive that Mother Jones, MSNBC.com and ProPublica are creating so that the public can more easily sift through the messages. Now, the Post and the Times are also jumping into the Palin e-mail drama.

In an article published earlier today, the Post announced a bizarre contest of sorts that asks readers to assist the newspaper in "digging through" the highly-anticipated electronic messages:

We are looking for 100 organized and diligent readers who will work alongside Post reporters to analyze, contextualize, and research the e-mails. Think of it as spending some time in our newsroom.

Our hope is that working together, we can efficiently find interesting information and extract new stories that will lead to further investigation. We don’t know what we’ll find, but we want you to be ready and open for the challenge.

You will communicate with us virtually and work in small teams to make light work of reviewing the e-mail threads. Notice the patterns. Identify recipients and senders. Connect specific e-mails to larger themes and events. We’ll give you a sense of what to look out for, but the hope is that your team can tackle the challenge together in a collaborative way that our journalists alone cannot.

The Times is looking to engage readers in a major e-mail initiative as well:

Times reporters will be in Juneau, the state capital, to begin the process of reviewing the e-mails, which we will be posting on nytimes.com starting on Friday afternoon E.D.T.

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.

What's your take on the media spending so much time and energy vetting Palin's e-mails? The Post has even setup a Twitter feed devoted to "headlines and details about Sarah Palin's e-mails." Watch below for more about tomorrow's public release:

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