The roller coaster of new technology

The roller coaster of new technology


OK, so the launch didn’t go quite as planned. Our first print edition under the new operating system didn’t come out looking as we had envisioned it. Our new website also had a few glitches, and I need to apologize right up front to all who received our email blast, which contained more mystery than news.

But at least we’ve gotten this long anticipated project off the ground, and now we’re in full debrief and correct mode for the coming days. And since we’re a general-circulation publication that goes to thousands of subscribers in print and many, many more on the Web, you’ll all get to watch us make our way through this complex, often frustrating process. The hope is that we won’t provide too much entertainment, and that you all, or at least the majority of you, will understand what we’re going through. And perhaps our very public experience with new technology will make those who have been through a recent, similar upgrade at work feel grateful that their experience wasn’t on the public stage.

The good news is that we’re making progress. Day 2, Friday, was better than Day 1, Thursday. We were an hour and 45 minutes late with our print edition on Thursday, in a business that considers five minutes late a crime. And we looked sloppy. Friday was better; we were about an hour late, and we didn’t look quite as unorganized as our Thursday appearance.

We experienced considerable problems with our new website on Thursday, but most were addressed later in the day. I like our new site much better than our previous site, largely because it looks more like a news site, and I hope people will take the time to browse through it and get comfortable with the new design. The search function is much improved and can now actually deliver what you’re looking for.

To say this process has been complex is a considerable understatement. We’ve invested nearly $1 million to make us a part of the cloud computing generation, and the changes have touched all departments. Assembling a varying number of advertisements and a varying number of news stories and photos into a newspaper every day is always an interesting process, but just like every other business, there are policies and procedures and guidelines and tradition that help to bring a sense of order to that which begins as a big batch of loose parts every day. Add new technology and steep learning curves to that process — on deadline every day — and you’ve got one heck of a roller-coaster ride.

But I think it’s safe to say that despite all the challenges, we’re all happy to have new technology in the building. We had gotten to the point where there was so much old and somewhat updated technology patched together that workarounds were the order of the day in most procedures. We’re also joining forces with our colleagues at the mothership in Meriden — the editors and production folks at the Meriden Record Journal — to a greater degree than before, in hopes that our shared resources will make us both stronger.

So stay tuned, be patient with us, and know that we’re working to provide a better product online and in print for a long time to come.

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