E&P Technical: Powerful Outage

By Rosenberg, Jim | Editor & Publisher, July 1, 2007 | Go to article overview

E&P Technical: Powerful Outage


Rosenberg, Jim, Editor & Publisher


A week after the server connection between Journal Register Co.'s New Haven Register and its former Rhode Island papers blinked on the same day another former JRC title -- GateHouse Media's The Herald News in Fall River, Mass. -- was printing copies of the Rhode Island dailies for an unrelated reason, another GateHouse site experienced more than a mere power outage during a severe electrical storm.

When the Sunday storm blew through New York's Mohawk Valley, no one was at The Evening Times in Little Falls. In fact, because it was closed for the Memorial Day holiday, says Editor Larry Neely, "we didn't discover it until Tuesday morning."

"It" was the unexpected damage that occurred at some point in the course of the late-day thunderstorm that knocked out power to about 2,500 utility customers that night. It took out the paper's Associated Press modem, telephone system, high-speed cable modem, and the newsroom's server and routers. Judging by the clocks, he adds, the power was out for only about 20 minutes, but the damaged equipment posed a challenge to producing the next day's edition.

Anything lost on the server, along with fresh copy, was entered and edited on unconnected computers. Using a composing room employee's personal memory stick, finished stories were conveyed, one computer at a time, to a single computer for make-up and output. Neely, meanwhile, "went home and downloaded wire copy on my personal computer. …

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