Why are the original Jeff Gannon diaries especially relevant after Katrina?

In the seven or eight months since the Gannon Diaries first appeared on Dkos, I have thought a lot about the success of SusanG in those diaries, and how her model has been an inspiration that I see at work everywhere on the internet in these trying days after Katrina.

She asked a question and invited the Kossacks to help her.  “Who is this guy?” she asked. “Any one care to join me in finding out?” she invited.   They did, we did, and we found out – Jeff Gannon was James Guckert.

Over the weekend, I witnessed that same model in play again, adopted wholesale by the denizens of the web.  “What are the FEMA blunders?”, countless diaries by pb, Georgia10, BrinVT and others asked.  “Help me find out.  Post your stories here,” they invited.

Other bloggers focused on the events and chose to document as much as possible what really happened before sites got scrubbed or propaganda spin took hold.  They too put out the call for help constructing timelines or locating documents.

But there is more to the success of Gannon Diaries.   Two other key ingredients.

SusanG was tireless in nurturing the threads.  When people posted a good piece of information, she was right there with a comment, asking questions, thanking them, clarifying a connection.  

And then she summarized, often. Every day or so she would put out another diary summarizing the storyline to date, highlighting the new information, and then restating the Question – but now more focused – such as “What about military experience?” And she reiterated the invitation over and over again to join her.

Finally, what really distinguished this effort from other blogging was the early insistence on fact checking, verifying and never using questionable evidence in her summaries.  Also critical were her continued calls to never ever include personal private information.

There’s no magic here but certainly there is certainly brilliance.

  • State the question
  • Invite participation
  • Nurture the discussion
  • Summarize frequently
  • Never post personal information
  • Fact check and verify

Hope you all don’t mind, as this is a cross post from ePluribus Media Community The Gannon Diaries’ Relevance to Katrina Coverage

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