Tonight has been a busy news night. Nothing could be considered huge breaking news, but it was enough to keep me busy in the newsroom and on Twitter sharing information. Rewind 24-hours and I wouldn’t have been able to Tweet. There was a company-wide, seriously coast to coast, Internet outage that lasted hours. While I was on the news desk during the outage, it was very calm news wise and I found myself thinking, “huh, I’m not going crazy by not being able to Twitter.”

After tonight though I know I would have been agitated beyond belief if the Internet outage had been tonight and I wasn’t able to tweet. This is just a sample of my stream from tonight.

At the time of the outage though, in a calm newsroom, I was okay. I was frustrated I couldn’t get an updated news release from Oregon State Patrol that was published on a Web site. Thankfully, a Portland station called just as I was going to call OSP for information. I think my conversation went something like this:
“Oh my, you would not believe it but we’ve lost Internet! I can’t believe I’m asking this, but do you still have a fax machine and if so would you be willing to fax me that press release?”

The producer just laughed at the situation, printed the release, walked to the fax machine and sent it to me. Once I had that release, there was nothing more I needed that was Internet based. I did some writing. I read the Associated Press Wires every few minutes or so. My coworkers and I lamented on what life was before the Internet and how boring life is without it.

The Web producer was going crazy because she couldn’t do a thing to update the station Web site. Email, all company programs, and even Web based video servers were down. Other stations called me to see how bad it was for us. We were lucky. We didn’t need any more video feeds for the newscast. Other stations were not so lucky. Eventually the company reverted to the old days of satellite feeds. (When I say old days, I mean like less than a year ago!)

Overall we were fine. We were able to joke about it; while being annoyed by it. It showed us how much we depend on the Internet; yet we can still function without it. Thank goodness for the fax machine and satellite feeds.

The lesson I learned was to always have my cell phone fully charged. While some of my coworkers found relief in being able to check facebook on their phones, my phone didn’t have enough battery to open anything. I was truly Internet silent for over three hours before I got home and had Internet available again. I didn’t even touch the computer though. I just plugged in my phone, watched some TV and went to bed. I found it comforting that Internet was there if I needed it, but I didn’t feel a need to get on it.

Don’t forget how I started this post though. If the night hadn’t been calm, this would be a completely different story!