Coping with a blackout in a tech-based business

Published 3:29pm Sunday, June 30, 2013

Technology is a wonderful thing. It makes so many of the tasks relating to the jobs of most of us faster, easier and more accurate.
For those of us in the newspaper business, technology in the form of the Internet has changed our lives. Not only has it affected every aspect of how we “build” the newspaper pages, but also how we get at least part of the information required to generate stories.
For instance, the search for a scrap of information that once took hours, multiple telephone calls and sometimes a trip to a library or other research site often requires just a few minutes on the Internet. All we have to do is type in a search parameter and we’re led to – at minimum – a contact to call.
There are literally hundreds, perhaps thousands, of tools that technology provides us both at work and at home – and even on the go on our smart cell phones. They’re all incredibly time-saving and offer us immediate results.
One of the most recent innovations we take advantage of here at the newspaper office is utilization of “the cloud.” It allows off-site access to programs and server space, plus other amenities I can’t even name.
Again, it’s all wonderful, speedy, helpful stuff. Until it doesn’t work.
That’s exactly what we’re experiencing as I write this. Our Internet is down, and apparently it may be tomorrow (Saturday) before we get it back. That’s a major problem when you have to have your newspaper pages to the printer by Friday night.
Those of us in the editorial end of the thing are crippled by its loss, but can still move – slowly. Unfortunately our folks in the classifieds and legals, accounting, etc. can’t get to anything they need without the Internet.
And, oh joy, our electricity just went out, so I’m typing this while my computer is running on its battery backup. In fact, the loss of power and telephone are also serious game-changers (for the worse) in our little world.
Before my power supply completely fades, I’ll wind on down. Hopefully, you’re reading this – in print – and we’ve managed to struggle through and get everything done to get your Saturday newspaper into your hands.
Until next week …

Peggy Blackburn is managing editor of The Wetumpka Her­ald and Elmore County Weekend. She can be reached at 334-567-7811. Her email address is

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