For more than five hours on Monday afternoon, the Associated Press – the worldwide news cooperative that provides much of the Missoulian’s national and international news, as well as statewide news stories – suffered a computer outage.
As in: The news stopped flowing into our newsroom.
As the outage stretched into two, three, four hours and we moved into the hours of the day when our news editors need to start placing stories on pages for the print edition, we started wondering if the wire feed would be restored in time.
Then something awesome started happening.
Rather than wait for some faraway, unknown computer techs to fix the AP’s breakdown, Montana journalists went to work sharing stories. The Associated Press bureau chief in Helena began e-mailing statewide stories to our newsroom. And all our coworkers at other Lee Enterprises newspapers in Montana started e-mailing their best stories of the day to one another. Missoula, Hamilton, Billings, Helena, Butte: We all started swapping copy and shoring up the morning editions – and our online sites.
It didn’t require a big summit meeting. Frankly, most of us didn’t even talk about it. We just started editing stories and sending them to one another.
The news was again flowing.
Because in Montana, we know how to get things done.