The Smoking Gun Does the Dirty Work, Finds the Gems Others Miss

The New York Times just ran a fascinating article on The Smoking Gun, a website dedicated to providing "documents--cool, confidential, quirky--that can't be found elsewhere on the Web." The three-person investigative shop in mid-town Manhattan consistently finds -- and publishes -- court documents, government records, and other esoterica that it finds through Freedom of Information requests, court files, and good old-fashioned investigative journalism. As we explain in our legal guide, you don't need the resources of a big media organization to use these information gathering tools effectively.

According to the Times:

The Smoking Gun has demonstrated that if you obey the metabolism of the Web, not the journalist, you can land with significant impact in a hurry.

“I think one of the keys is that we are three people,” said Mr. Bastone, who founded the site with Daniel Green, another Voice alumnus who has since moved on to truTV at Turner, and Barbara Glauber, Mr. Bastone’s wife and the designer of the site. . . .

“Their secret sauce is the ability to source documents that no one else can get,” said Steve Koonin, president of Turner Entertainment Networks, which inherited the site when it bought Court TV. “It’s not a big business, but it’s profitable, and one of the things we are diligent about is the care and feeding of brands. Young people respond to this brand on TV and on the Web.”

Read the whole article. It's worth your time.

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