THE WEEKLY GRIND: Technical Troubles

You may have seen it on our Facebook page or heard it from one of our staff members, but let me once and for all put the rumors to rest. No, we did not have half the staff quit unexpectedly, we aren’t dealing with a multitude of scandalous tabloid cover stories and we have yet to experience a devastating power outage. (What is this, an episode of Sorkin’s The Newsroom?!)

But, we did face a scary technical difficulty that stopped us in our tracks, if only for a little bit, last production. Some important files on our server got deleted inadvertently, leaving us suddenly without the original copies of our stories or pages. Of course, this all happened around 12:30 a.m., way past normal business hours for any form of emergency help.

Imagine our server, where we store all of our work, as your cellphone: it’s your lifeline, where you keep all the important information you can never remember (think R-number, Netflix password, mailbox combination, room code, ATM pin numbers). And now imagine your lifeline wiping clean-no phone numbers no photos, and no applications. Have you panicked yet?

We almost did. After a few last-ditch efforts to find our files, which of course weren’t patiently waiting for us in the Trash folder as we had hoped, we had to face the fact that it was time to start over. The work we had done over the course of five hours was nowhere to be found, except in bits and pieces on printed copies and on our web hosting site. (College Publisher for the win.) All of our editors had to remake the newspaper pages one-by-one. In case you haven’t picked up our print product in a while-although you definitely should-that’s 16 pages.

We were able to make it out that night alive, albeit a little before 4 a.m. But hey, we restarted a newspaper basically from scratch in around three hours. That’s the bright side of this, I’m sure.

On a more serious note, I’m proud to say that even with our server glitch last week, The Ramapo News has not missed a scheduled publication date since the paper has been under our longtime technical adviser, Dan Sforza. Our newspaper has continued to produce in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, through multiple elections, during Hurricane Sandy, and now, after technical troubles nearly wiped out our server. That’s more than 15 years of delivering the news to the campus community every Thursday while the College is in session, and now, on the web year-round.

I’m also extremely proud of my staff members, who persevered despite the onset of early-morning brain lapses and the almost insurmountable amount of frustration that comes with losing your work right before your eyes. If you’ve ever written an entire paper or finished a long presentation or even crafted the perfect witty tweet only to have the Internet go down or your computer freeze, you’ll understand how we felt discovering our files were gone.

And of course, we all extend our sincerest thanks to Tom Doyle, Stu Levine and the rest of Ramapo’s ITS team for eventually resurrecting our lost files and restoring order in the newsroom. It’s because of their computer smarts that we can reflect on this fateful production in 2013 as the day our server files decided to only temporarily disappear.

That’s all the news for now-Nicole