Assoc. Press Managing Editors' plan for Y2K coverage - spot the disconnects! Bonus: Koskinen gives media marching orders.greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
http://www.mediainfo.com/ephome/news/newshtm/stories/101599n4.htmNEWSPAPERS PREPARE FOR Y2K COVERAGE A Report From the APME Convention by Joe Strupp
MEMPHIS, Tenn. For newspapers planning to cover Y2K on New Year's Eve without experiencing its bad side effects firsthand, the key is early and wide-ranging planning, according to editors gathered here at the Associated Press Managing Editors national convention.
Editors representing both large and small newspapers agreed that every newsroom must have a detailed contingency plan to allow for adequate coverage in the event of lost power, computer foul-ups, and even looting.
"Make sure your worse-case scenario is bad enough," said Jeff Beach of the Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald, which survived simultaneous fires and floods in the recent past. "You must be able to prepare for everything."
Holding up a thick, red binder that contained his newspaper's New Year's Eve assignments, Beach said all areas must be considered so that panic does not ensue. He said he has already made arrangements for groceries from a local food store, emergency printing by neighboring newspapers, alternate wire feeds if satellites fail, and emergency generator links from the local power company if lights go out.
Jane Amari of The (Wilmington, Del.) News Journal and Earl Maucker of the Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Sun-Sentinel, agreed. Each said plans were being created to account for every problem that could occur.
Each newspaper is planning to have early deadlines so that a Jan. 1 edition can be produced before midnight, with plans for a later edition to include news about what happens when the clock strikes 12.
Maucker said the Sun-Sentinel will print its Jan. 1 edition at 9:30 p.m. on Dec. 31, with distribution before midnight. A special 18-page wrap will then be produced to include news about what happens after midnight.
"That way, if everything goes down at midnight, we will already have a newspaper ready to go," Maucker said. "We already know exactly when each page will go out, who will lay it out, and when it will print."
Amari has a similar early edition plan, with the Jan. 1 issue slated to publish just before midnight, and a later edition prepared with a 1 a.m. deadline and a likely late-morning distribution on New Year's Day. Each editor said they have cancelled nearly all vacations for the week of New Year's and beefed up staff for Dec. 31 well beyond the usual holiday crew.
"This got really expensive because it involved a holiday," Amari said. "Everyone wants to work because it is exciting, but we have to pay them a higher rate."
Other planning has included looking beyond the United States for coverage, especially in the Far East where the midnight hour will hit nearly a day before it does in America, giving U.S. newspapers a glimpse at how harsh or light the impact may be.
"We have staff that will be in Europe to file stories once it hits," Maucker said. "We are particularly interested in how it affects third world countries."
In addition, editors said they plan to stock up on supplies and newsroom items for as long as three months, in case panic sets in and some things are hard to find after New Year's Day.
"We are laying in for a couple of months' supply," Beach said. "We know we would not be first on the list for supplies if something went down, so we are getting everything pens, notebooks, and paper."
http://www.mediainfo.com/ephome/news/newshtm/stories/101899n4.htmY2K COVERAGE: PREPARATION WITHOUT PANIC A Report From the APME Convention by Joe Strupp
MEMPHIS, Tenn. In coverage of Y2K issues, newspapers should stress the need for preparation without inducing panic among the populace, advised the leaders of various industries to attendees of the Associated Press Managing Editors national convention here late last week.
Led by moderator Jack Cox of the Foundation for American Communications, a seven-member panel stressed that most of the world's industries, including telecommunications, utilities, business, city services, and health care, are in good shape to handle the coming Y2K computer changes, and warned editors not to raise undue concerns with the public.
"There is a risk of overreaction by the public, and corporations," said John Koskinen, chair of the President's Council on Y2K Conversion. "The answer is to get as much information out as possible and we look to you to get it out in a fast-moving way."
Dick Escue, vice president of Memorial Health Corp. in Memphis, said newspapers need to provide the assurances that services will be there so that residents don't empty bank accounts, stock up too much on food or drugs, or worry that the local hospital won't be operating as usual. "A little research and a little digging will show that," Escue said.
A majority of the panel agreed that one of the key problems is to distinguish between correct, useful information and rumors. "The challenge is to find out when someone said something and what the basis for it is," Koskinen said.
"Take the time and effort to check with someone who is reliable and competent," added Ron Quiggins, director of the American Petroleum Institute. "Checking sources is more important than ever."
Jon Arnold, chief information officer for Edison Electric Institute, agreed. "There is a lot of false information floating around," he said, citing the Internet as a source for much of it.
But at least one panelist, Dennis Grabow, a veteran investment banker and head of Millennium Investment Corp. in Chicago, said the press has not raised enough concern about the impact on financial institutions. He said computer glitches could hurt the world economy if manufacturing is affected or shipping routes are cut off, especially in Asia.
"People underestimate that dependency on foreign markets," Grabow said. "(Y2K) is going to teach us our dependency on technology, especially in business."
Grabow believes the stock market will take a major hit in the first quarter of 2000 because of economic problems related to Y2K, predicting a likely 40% drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. "Wall Street has been very remiss in telling that story," he said. "The corporate community does not want to talk about it."
Whether or not that happens, editors were urged to focus on the local community, especially with basic information for readers on daily services such as water, gas, electricity, phones, and emergency services. "My advice is to find out who in your community are the providers and find out how they are doing, what their plan is, and publicize it," Koskinen said.
The session ended with tips for newspapers' Y2K coverage:*publish preparation stories with solid, how-to information that avoids panic *pressure government and utilities to explain exact plans and show proof of compliance use reliable sources and explain to readers who they are, and what their expertise is *explain how Y2K testing works and what is being done to test plans layout which Y2K issues will have long-term impact and which will be immediate *update stories that my have provided a problematic scenario in the past, but were changed with recent solutions *alert readers to Y2K con men who may be playing on fears to rip off the public *find anecdotal and true people stories about how individuals are preparing
-- lisa (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 18, 1999
"publish preparation stories with solid, how-to information that avoids panic" That was the story we needed about a year ago, or two. You remember, don't you, back when we had 500 days, not enough time to fix everything but enough time to stock up? The only thing to do now is point people to Robert Waldrop's material, and anecdotal stuff about how people survived the depression.
"pressure government and utilities to explain exact plans and show proof of compliance use reliable sources and explain to readers who they are, and what their expertise is" Hey, if the government can't pressure utilities, how am I supposed to? The only way this was going to happen was for the gummint to walk into a selected electric plant, roll the clocks, see what worked and what broke, and then tell the rest of them how to prepare. But that would bother the shareholders, so we self-reported ourselves into this corner.
"explain how Y2K testing works and what is being done to test plans. layout which Y2K issues will have long-term impact and which will be immediate" Well, I've been doing this since 1994, some have called me an "expert", and I don't know where the impacts will be. I don't know what a "y2k expert" is, either. As for testing, well, that's what 1999 is for, right?
"update stories that my have provided a problematic scenario in the past, but were changed with recent solutions" What's this - report the silver bullet stories? Or, report that Infoliant says 2/3 of all changes are negative. That is, they looked good last year, but *now* are problematic. We've moved past that testing, though, and checked them off, so we don't want to go back and reopen THAT particular can of worms.
"alert readers to Y2K con men who may be playing on fears to rip off the public" Boy, that's the truth. I hear there are some con men who are pretending there are no problems, just to keep the price of stocks up. What's worse - playing on fears, or playing on complacency.
"find anecdotal and true people stories about how individuals are preparing " I think this means reporting on the nutcases hiding in the woods with their guns, gold and groceries. At least, those are the stories I've seen. Enough to last for the rest of THIS lifetime, anyway.
-- bw (email@example.com), October 18, 1999.
"Wall Street has been very remiss in telling that story," he said.
"The corporate community does not want to talk about it."
Or hear about it, or see it, or think about it, or deal with it.
THERE IS NO ESCAPE!
-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 18, 1999.
Come on, Ashton & Leska, tell us how you REALLY feel......
Folks, the spin isn't gonna change. The official line is that we must report the "truth", which is that all is OK.
I hope they are right.
Print out the reports, folks. Hide them, make copies. We will need them for evidence at the trials.......
-- mushroom (email@example.com), October 18, 1999.
What am I missing here? The MEDIA has been saying that there will be NO problems. The MEDIA has been saying that I, and those preppies like me, are extremist. Somebody help me out here please.
-- Uncle Bob (UNCLB0B@Y2KOK.ORG), October 18, 1999.
Screw the Dinty Moore, I'm head'n for the back to school aisle at Office Depot for my "supply" of pencils, notepads and erasers!!! LOLOLOLOLOL!!! Heck, if I don't use'em, I can sell'm for a big markup to the gumshoes out lookin' fur that there Y2OK story that's supposed to be around here somewhere??? Warning: don't eat the yellow paint on the number 2's, it has lead in it!! Keeps gettin weirder and weirder by the minute!!
-- editor (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 18, 1999.
Make sure your worse-case scenario is bad enough. ...Spoken like a true doomer.
Amari has a similar early edition plan, with the Jan. 1 issue slated to publish just before midnight. ...Let's just print yesterday's news.
...has already made arrangements for...emergency generator links from the local power company if lights go out. ...I gotta get me one of those.
Lisa, nice find, as usual. Are you ever @home.now anymore?
-- semper paratus (email@example.com?), October 18, 1999.
No, I don't do the 'net @ home. Single commuting soccer/girl scout/choir/etc mom and that's the last thing I have time for.
-- lisa (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 19, 1999.