If there’s one thing that’s bound to be the bane of any journalist’s existence, it’s technology.
I remember the days in college when we were learning all these programs we thought would be big in the journalism world. Certain things, like the early version of Microsoft Word, we thought were universal. We also got used to the PageMaker program – the early ancestor to the program we use now, InDesign – to design pages on a computer.
But we also learned how to develop film, using a darkroom, and how to make black and white prints – learning how to manually brighten or darken specific areas using physical tools to burn and dodge. And, when I graduated from college, my first job involved working on a MicroTek word processor.
Evil pieces of equipment, those. I lost track of the number of times I went to print a specific document in a list, only to print out EVERY. SINGLE. DOCUMENT. On deadline and needing one page of 250 or so created quite the issue, and so did having to then trim the paper, wax it and put it on a paste-up sheet.
I digress, though. Fortunately, we’re a long way from the old days when it comes to technology. Coaches now scan box scores and email them, rather than send them through fax. Pictures aren’t developed – and sometimes, not even taken by a camera. Cellphone cameras have come a long way in even 10 years, much less the 20-plus that would take me back to college.
But with much technology comes much responsibility – and much frustration. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been struggling to receive many emails people have sent. The only problem was that the problems weren’t consistent, so I had no idea I wasn’t receiving something unless someone specifically asked, “did you get this?”
Getting tired of having to tell someone, “umm … no,” I went through the company help desk last week. After spending about a half hour on the phone, we finally managed to reset a password and get me into the web version of my email, where there is a “spam” folder I can access.
When I opened that folder, I found emails dating back about a month. It roughly corresponded with my acquiring the firstname.lastname@example.org address I’ve been sharing with everyone, and contained everything from voicemail backups to questions that had been answered through email by story sources. There were also a few introductions from people asking me to lunch or for a cup of coffee.
While I knew I’d been missing some items, I didn’t expect the 45 or so emails that were stored there. So, my apologies to everyone who’s tried to get hold of me and failed. As a journalist, we rely on email for many things, and it’s incredibly frustrating to find out how few were actually getting to me.
I’m here. I promise. Now if the technology would just agree with me.