Press the Press : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

What do ya'll think about writing your local newspaper's reader comments section and asking about the status of the newspaper's Y2k remediation program. Morning Guzette are your internal systems prepared to handle dates correctly in 2000? What about your vendors systems? Do you have contingency plans for continuing your valuable community service in the event of prolonged power outages? Have your lawyers advised you not to answer these questions? Are your lawyers' systems compliant? Can you at least print the form letter you are sending out when you receive those pesky Y2k surverys? This is a major event, why aren't you pressing local leaders to report on their efforts both in remmediation and contingency planning? If you are unwilling to assume your responsibility in reporting Y2k comprehensively then why should your readers hold your paper in any higher regard than a supermarket tabloid? Do you have the courage to move the sex scandals to page A16 and put y2k on the front page occasionally?

-- El Nuisance (none@abaccus.broken), July 16, 1998


Last night I emailed the following message to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Having heard that President Clinton was planning to speak about the Year 2000 computer bug, often referred to as Y2K, I was eager to read what he had to say about this potentially serious problem. What a disappointment it was to see a mere nine column inches about the speech he made to the National Academy of Sciences on July 14. The reporter not only excessively summarized a three thousand word speech, he glossed over the most important part of the message. I got the impression that the main thrust of the Presidents speech was something about a new Good Samaritan law that will encourage businesses to share information. Even the headline, "Clinton acts to ease 2000 computer crisis," seemed calculated to prevent readers from taking the subject too seriously. I had never looked at the official White House web site (, but I decided that I would see if the full text of the speech was there. It was, and I discovered that the summary that appeared in the Courier-Journal bore little resemblance to the speech President Clinton gave. The topic should have merited enough space in the paper for the entire text to be printed, but since it didnt, I would like to offer a few excerpts here: "It could affect electric power, phone service, air travel, major governmental service. ... With millions of hours needed to rewrite billions of lines of code this is clearly one of the most complex management challenges in history.  HCFA, which runs Medicare, processes almost 1 billion transactions a year. Its computer vendors must painstakingly renovate 42 million lines of computer code. All told, the worldwide cost will run into the tens, perhaps the hundreds of billions of dollars, and that's the cost of fixing the problem, not the cost if something actually goes wrong. We know first we [the government] have to put our own house in order, to make certain that government will be able to continue to guard our borders, guide air traffic, send out Social Security and Medicare checks, and fulfill our other duties. But not every agency is as far along as it should be. By far the most significant potential risks fall in the private sector. Large firms already have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to make sure their systems are ready.  But let me say, in spite of all this progress, in the business sector just as in the government sector, there are still gaping holes. Far too many businesses, especially small- and medium-sized firms, will not be ready unless they begin to act. A recent Walls Fargo bank survey shows that of the small businesses that even know about the problem, roughly half intend to do nothing about it. . This is very important. It is important that we act and not be in denial." Why is it that a presidential speech about "one of the most complex management challenges in history" that "could affect electric power, phone service, air travel, [and] major governmental service" is not worth printing in its entirety? If the millennium computer problem is as bad as many experts fear it will be, the public is going to be angry because no one warned them it was coming. My advice to the public is this: Inform yourself about Y2K. Dont depend on the popular press to tell you what you need to know. Teresa Fisher 47130

-- Teresa Fisher (, July 16, 1998.

Good job. It'll be interesting to see if you get more than a brush-off letter. Let us know, please.

-- Rocky Knolls (, July 16, 1998.

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