We spoke to Tribune editor William B. Rood, about the Tribune's remarkable journalistic effort.
"How the heck did you read through all that material so fast," we wondered, as we had only made it through a couple thousand pages ourselves.
"Speed readers," Rood replied. "Speed readers on speed. Nothing faster. But it still wasn't fast enough to get through 35,000 pages in the six hours before we went to print and still do the proper analysis. So we used extra resources, seven speed reading reporters on speed. That way they only had to deal with about five thousand pages each. Piece of cake for an organization like ours."
"That still seems like a lot of material to get through if you say you're trying to do serious analysis," we told him.
Rood leveled with me. "You know, these document dumps aren't as intimidating as they look to an outsider. They really aren't. There's a lot of junk in there - doodles, poetry, papers with nothing on them but a phone number, all sorts of junk. All told, there probably weren't more than twenty-three or twenty-four thousand pages that we really had to put a hard focus on. That makes our job a heck of a lot easier."
"Poetry?" we asked, wondering just what Robertson was doing writing verse on government time. "What kind of poetry?"
"Oh, all kinds. Some of it is whimsical, you know, 'bingo, bango, bongo', but some of it is deeper, showing the type of highly dedicated, deeply compassionate conservative that John G Robertson really is. Like this one, called 'The Cloud', that has really stuck with me."
Look to the sky
"Beautiful, isn't it?"
"We would not sleep with Maureen Dowd," we replied before taking our leave. "Unless we were completely plowed."
©2005, Mark Hoback