I’ve been putting off this post because it covers so many things I hardly know where to start.
December was a strange month for me because this blog somehow got me into the group of people developing the new Birmingham Post website (there will be an update on this soon – promise!).
After taking us back in from the cold, I think Trinity Mirror decided it better do something interesting with us… and quickly. I guess the planned move to Fort Dunlop made for the perfect opportunity.
Since then, things have got a little crazy around here.
The laptop is part of it. Apparently, when we all move over to our new site at Fort Dunlop, everyone will be swapping their antiquated Mac Classics for one of these Compaq 6710bs. I suspect the good battery life and the 3G connection are all part of the plan to make Post & Mail journalists more flexible and mobile. From what I’ve heard (although I don’t know for sure) this leapfrogs us over most other Trinity Mirror publications in the technology stakes.
The reason I have my laptop early is because tomorrow I start a new distance learning postgraduate course. It is a Trinity Mirror collaboration with the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) and is built around the university’s Journalism Leaders Programme.
It’s in its second term, but two people dropped out and it was decided that one person from The Post and another from The Mail should take up the places. As part of the recent madness, I got asked if I wanted to do it. Well…it was a bit of a no brainer really.
Seminars for the course happen online and that’s why I got the laptop early. I needed a machine that could cope with online conferences. The first seminar is tomorrow afternoon… and I’m nervous. It’s like the first day of school again.
The course looks at the transition of the newsroom as a result of converging technologies and investigates what is required to manage that change… or at least that’s how I’ve interpreted it.
It’s quite a big thing to take on, with at least eight to ten hours of study expected each week. We also have residential weeks every couple of months that seem fairly intense.
But of course I’m excited about it – three months ago I was utterly despairing at the backward technology we have here, now I’m being asked to go on a training course that not only deals with current developments, but also looks to the future. Who wouldn’t be excited?!
There are other things going on around here that suggest to me we’re rapidly time travelling from 1998 to 2008. A rather lovely shiny new Mac has appeared on a desk near to me and a few people are fresh back from video training.
I am under no illusions that fast-forwarding a decade is going to have its problems. You can’t expect people who have been working on Mac OS9 for at least the last seven years to suddenly switch to a completely new system (and continue producing a paper) without a few teething troubles.
But we are finally moving towards the sort of operation I’ve been longing to work for since I arrived and I can’t wait to see what happens next!
It amazes me that anyone could actually publish a newpaper still using OS 9, bizzare.
I kid you not.
I suppose you could argue that, as most of our job is about word processing, we don’t need machines that are that powerful.
However, Flash, Youtube and an array of social networking sites beg to differ.
It has required persistence; patience; inventive use of old iterations of Opera, iCab and IE5.1 and a extensive vocabulary of swear words.
one evening last summer i had cause to visit the shared picture desk (i was bringing in some shots of a bus crash i was standing near to when it happened), & was gobsmacked to see that not only was one of the macs running on the desk running os9, but appeared to be plugged into a monochrome greenscreen monitor at that !