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Journalism 101: Insight into political reporting

Wow! This is fun.

Look: here.

At the Gothamist, they are releasing batches of e-mails, uncovered through the FOIL process, of reporters communicating with press people for Governor Eliot Spitzer and for (now Governor) David Paterson. The e-mails cover the transition time – with the Eliot Spitzer scandal gradually being revealed, and David Paterson wading through reporters’ scrutiny as he becomes Governor.

It is so interesting to see reporters and candidate spokespeople negotiate on the record, off the record, being probing, being polite, being mocking, being manipulative. And, to see, as the Times Union puts it, the e-mails reveal, “a relationship that’s often marked by rapidly changing power dynamics and frequent role reversals between supplicant and provider.”

Surely anyone studying the responsibility of the media, or the machinations of the media could learn a lot by reviewing these e-mails. And, anyone who aspires to be a political or investigative journalist should study these intently. Free lessons in what to do, and what not to do. Free samples of ethical dilemmas (which some people pass and some fail in these interchanges.)

The Gothamist provides excellent, running commentary with the e-mails, which will help everyone get the punchlines.

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