Audrey Fraizer

Audrey Fraizer

Story Vault

By Audrey Fraizer

The office Internet is down. Nobody’s fault but still a drag. It’s Friday and the information highway is closed for rerouting in preparation for our move to a building a block and a half away.

Oh yeah, we can call people on the telephone, actually stroll to a coworker’s desk, or—heaven help us—jot down a message for interoffice delivery. We could walk three blocks to the city library or to a local coffee shop for a Wi-Fi connection or use our smartphones. We could also crawl into a hole to hibernate, at least for the duration.

It’s not as if we surf the Web from 8 to 5, or spend company time indicating we like something or posting comments on our favorite social media page. We did create a Facebook page for The Journal’s Readers Board and Editorial Board and have a website dedicated to the Academy’s interests. We miss access to those sites; however, it’s the gulf generated by the obstructed flow of information for our stories that bothers us in editorial.

Sports, political analysis, celebrity “news”—which Senior Editor James Thalman likens to a junk-food addiction (stuff we crave but will never admit to enjoying)—might be on tap at home. In the office, it’s nothing that meets the eye. Our time on the Internet encourages us in the direction of finding stories that might interest members or add information to enhance the stories we receive.

For example, Clinical Support Representative Louise Ganley, from our offices in Bristol, told us about the seven agencies in Southern Ireland using version 12.2 of the Medical ProQA. That bit of news put us on the path to learn more about the individual centers for a story about our international partners. A call earlier this week from Yukon EMS Emergency Response Communications Supervisor Michael Swainson turned our attention to the land of gold rush fever.

We use the Internet to look up definitions (When was the last time you opened a dictionary?), read the background on a major incident, and keep up with issues affecting dispatch, e.g., stress or social media.

What did we ever do pre-Internet? Well, it so happens I’m acquainted with the land before electronic highways.

Newspaper and broadcast journalists relied on phones, wire reports clicking through a Tele-type machine, and face-to-face conversations. We developed sources—a good thing that the Internet has supplanted and a topic that would take a book to cover. Suffice to say, we still prefer forming relationships with our sources but it’s often the Internet we turn to for introductions and background.

Without the Internet, I am not working on the story I’d rather be writing, which would incorporate a morning phone interview with Louise and the perspective I can gain from going online. But there is a bright side to all of this. The interruption to the Internet forces creative thinking and opens the coming week to a world of possibilities.

At least, I hope the highway’s open by then.