Life in the Digital Real World

Call it birthing pains. Call it a life lesson. I don’t know what else to call it but pure hell when your new web site goes down for reasons you can’t quite fathom and for —  tick-tock, tick-tock — many hours you cannot retrieve.

I guess this is life in the digital world. We built a site, tested it, ran it for a month without incident, started a dialogue with the world, and then – poof – we were sidelined.

Really sidelined. Last thing I remember I was talking to George Stephanopoulos about the status of his daily calls to Rahm Emanuel (see our story about DC journalists), and then – bam!

It’s all been a blur of server logs and code burps and memory leaks since then.

Journalism I know. This web stuff – well, I’m still learning. It’s hard not to feel like some kind of prisoner held hostage by the world of xxxs and ooos.

Journalists are independent types by nature. We do not like to be held hostage by anything, much less something we do not completely understand, like technology.


For hours, I could only stare mutely, with occasional outbursts of frustrated confusion at the xxxxs and ooooos people who are a critical part of my world.

Web 2.0, I was taught over the past year, is meant to be about taking destiny in one’s own hands. About choosing and controlling the flow of information using tools that were once only available to big media outlets, now available to every single person.

I can’t explain the technical issues that surrounded our going off-line for 13 miserable hours Tuesday. I don’t fully understand them. But as an editor and digital media entrepreneur, and with apologies to our readers, I can tell you that I have newfound respect, and fear, and awe, of that great big thing called the world wide web, and how we wend our way there.