Release of printed Palin emails set to kick off race for stories

The world’s media (well, some of it at least) is eagerly anticipating the release of tens of thousands of emails sent by Sarah Palin while she was governor of Alaska.

The emails, which date from her inauguration as governor in 2006 through to her selection as John McCain’s running mate for the 2008 Republican presidential campaign, will be released at 6pm today.

The release looks set to spark a race between news organisations to dig out stories (or, let’s face it, plain old gossip).

In an affront to everything modern and digital, Palin’s office will release the 24,199 emails in printed form, in six boxes. That means, of course, that journalists will have to visit the courthouse in Juneau, Alaska to collect the documents and trawl through them on paper or scan them in.

The major US nationals will be on the courthouse steps at the appointed time of course. But it looks like there will be at least one UK newspaper represented – with the Guardian’s “crack correspondents” Ewen MacAskill and Ed Pilkington due to be “holed up in a Juneau hotel room combing through thousands of Palin emails as fast as they can read”.

The Guardian will then follow its MPs expenses app model by putting the trove of documents online and asking its readers to help analyse them.

The release comes just ahead of Palin’s visit to the UK and follows her recent bus tour of the east coast of the US. She is currently refusing to be drawn on whether she intends to run for president, and it remains to be seen whether the release of these emails will shed some light on a potential bid, derail it, or reveal no new interesting information at all.

Palin’s email was hacked back in 2008, with Anonymous, the group behind pro-WikiLeaks attacks on Mastercard and Amazon, thought to be responsible.

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