Friday, May 16, 2008

Bad day at the paper

Today you were supposed to see a really fun, wonderfully written post here.

I get home early Thursday nights. I had big plans last night to spend hours plotting my next entry. Instead, I spent eight hours extra at the newspaper office trying to put the paper to bed.

You see, the way our system is set up, all the daily newspapers in Connecticut owned by our no-longer-New-York-Stock-Exchange-listed company are connected to one central server in New Haven. InCopy and InDesign, the programs we write our stories and lay out our pages in, only exist on said server, and we log into these servers through the internet from all over the state.

It's cheap for the company - it only has to buy a small set of licenses. It's also convenient, because everyone is on the same system and can share articles, photos and pages.

When a transformer blows somewhere near New Haven, however, it isn't convenient for anyone.

Production stopped at five of our daily newspapers around 11 p.m. - 15 minutes before deadline for the Bristol paper and barely two hours before deadline for us.

In Torrington, six pages of news and four pages of sports had been in progress when all programs shut down. Editors went into panic mode. Reporters stood helpless at their desks looking at dark monitors. Grunts could be heard from the sports department.

Our city editor started calling our computer tech guy, who turned out to be on vacation and had no clue what was going on. A couple of calls later, we were told everyone was down for an undetermined amount of time. "We're working on it," we were told.

The publisher came rushing into the office (I swear, this guy never sleeps). Who's got Quark XPress on their computer? Where are there stories we can use? How can we get back on the internet? What's going on with sports?

Within a few minutes, we scrapped up two laptops with wireless connections. Three reporters were rewriting their stories and pages were being designed from scratch in old templates in a program we haven't looked at in over a year.

After all that, the first printed copy came off the press only 45 minutes late. We even managed to help the Bristol crew get the last of its pages done.

So, dear blog readers, I hope you understand if I now choose to get some sleep instead of writing long, interesting posts about life, the universe and everything...


Anne Sofie said...

Well done! That's professionalism! I can sense the activity... it even makes me long to be back in the media... sigh!

Vickan said...

Thanks. A night like that is exciting, although it doesn't seem like it when you are in the middle of it. Afterwards, though, you feel invincible.

Gone Camping said...

See, you do love your job,, good night !mike

very nice blog!

Vickan said...

Depends on what you mean by "love"...