When the computers at the Akron Beacon
started crashing on February 27, the paper quickly realized it had contracted the technological equivalent to a bad case of herpes. "We can contain the virus," says metro editor David Helmick. "But we can't get rid of it."
Reporters had to bring personal laptops to work or stay at home. Getting out the paper was nothing short of a miracle. "It's been very frustrating," says managing editor Mizell Stewart. "But we have managed to get the paper out."
As the virus ravaged the newsroom, many wondered how it got infected in the first place. The answer wasn't hard to find. After all, the Beacon
has had only three partners in its lifetime.
First there was Knight Ridder — the paper's first and only true love. After a nasty divorce in 2006, the Beacon
landed in the hands of McClatchy, which dumped the paper just days after they met ["Beacon Massacre
," August 30, 2006]. The Beacon is currently in a rocky, long distance relationship with a Canadian, Black Press.
Knight Ridder was long since dead and Black Press didn't have any other infected papers. But McClatchy did — including that slut, the Lexington Herald-Leader
. "I've been extremely busy, um, fighting a virus," says Mechealle Hanks, the director of technology of the Lexington Herald-Leader
But how could this happen to me?
wondered the Beacon
Though they'd parted ways months ago, part of the paper's "network" remained open to McClatchy. "We left one part of the wide area network open to McClatchy to exchange finance information easily," Helmick says.
Moral of the story: Never sleep with McClatchy. — Denise Grollmus