Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The White House email controversy: an archiving plan only FEMA could love


By David Gewirtz

I'm always a little freaked out when we run one of our in-depth special report series. I know many of you come to OutlookPower, DominoPower and the other ZATZ magazines for powerful tips and great reviews, while others of you love to dive into our deep analysis articles.

But when we run a special report series like this one on the controversy surrounding White House email, some of you can't tear yourselves away from the coverage, while others of you yearn for our more pedestrian fare. And, so, I'm always a bit concerned that the decision to focus on one topic for a few months means we'll lose some of you who aren't necessarily interested in that topic.

Please stick with us.

When we dive into a subject like this, it's usually the case that no other publication anywhere is devoting the kind of depth to the issue that we are. There's the chance that we'll all get a deeper understanding of an important topic and we'll be able to share that understanding with others.

"I am actually shuddering. And I'm a big dude. I don't normally shudder."

We've been told our willingness to take on important topics in incredible depth is one of the things that truly distinguishes us from other editorial teams and I have to agree.

So help keep my stress level down to a more manageable level. Keep reading. Keep learning. Tell your friends and colleagues about this work. Link to it on your sites and blogs. And, most important: talk about what you're reading to everyone you meet. Let's all get a deeper, better understanding of what's going on. From there, perhaps we can help guide and influence decision makers to make the right decisions.

And now, let's get back to the topic at hand, the missing White House emails we've all been hearing about. Aren't these emails archived? How do they manage their mail flow? Do they have an archiving system?

For that, we turn to the White House itself. In this article, we'll learn what White House spokesfolk Dana Perino and Tony Snow have been saying about the topic. After listening to them and reading the transcripts of press briefings in-depth, we've got with even more questions than we started with.

Of course, that's what makes this so darned interesting.

The West Wing meets the West Wing

Some of you have told me you're confused by the cast of characters and the positions they hold in our real life White House email docu-drama. Let's see if I can clear that up for you by calling to mind the characters in a popular TV show and relating them to the real life White House staffers I've been profiling in this article series.