CATEGORY: COL Columns (Journal)

AUTHOR: CHARLI

Charlie Langford:Staying on top of the technology curve

I wrote earlier this week that I was surrounded by technology and I didn't have a clue to how it worked. I have to confess, that's not entirely true.

I do have some understanding and a lot of experience in producing newspapers. More and more the production process is done on computers.

The Daily Journal has been a leader nationally in the use of computer technology in producing newspapers. We believe we were one of the first newspapers in the nation to be fully paginated. Pagination is a process of creating pages electronically.

What does that mean? All the images and words on this page and on every page in the Journal were first digital images on a computer screen.

So what?

Well, the process is less labor intensive and faster than past newspaper processes. That's good for us.

Other newspapers from across Mississippi and the South have traveled to Tupelo to view our technology.

Anyway, my responsibilities as managing editor/production include addressing newsroom technology needs and issues. Considering our leadership role in the industry, my concerns are how to stay ahead.

The Journal is staffed with a Computer Services department that not only understands newspaper technology issues, but also can also diagnose computer problems and take a computer apart and reassemble it with out having extra parts leftover. If I have a technology question or need, I can get plenty of answers. We depend on Computer Services to keep our day-to-day operation working.

One area in which the Journal has trailed the technology curve is in the use of the Internet in news gathering.

However, the Journal recently installed Internet access for its newsroom employees, making it easier for reporters to research background for stories from such Web sites as The Library of Congress (http://lcweb.loc.gov/) and The White House (http://www.whitehouse.gov).

As of Thursday, the Daily Journal began accepting letters to the editor via e-mail. The e-mail address for letters was created to encourage more people to write.

E-mail letters, like other letters to the editor, need to include the name of the writer, an address and a daytime telephone number. Letters can be sent to mail box (djnews@djournal.com). This e-mail address will appear regularly on the Opinion page.

Another aspect of this job is developing the content and design of the Daily Journal's Web site (http://www.djournal.com).

In the next several weeks, we will be assembling a master plan for our site and discussing better ways to make our page useful for Web surfers. Those wishing to comment on the site and offer suggestions can e-mail me (djnews@djournal.com).

All ideas are good ideas.

AN INTERNET WARNING: Religion Editor John Armistead has alerted me to two viruses being passes around via e-mail.

If you receive an e-mail titled "JOIN THE CREW" do not open it. It will erase everything on your hard drive. This information was received Thursday from John's brother, Thom, who lives in Houston, Texas.

The second E. coli e-mail is titled "PENPAL GREETINGS!" Do not download it. This virus will destroy your hard drive, Thom warns. It will also destroy the hard drive of anyone whose mail is in your box and the hard drives of mail in their boxes and so on.

FINAL NOTE: This column spot was previously held by Miss Phyllis Harper, who is retiring after 28 years with the Daily Journal. Miss Phyllis was a wonderful column writer, a favorite of my Uncle Jimmy here in Tupelo. I can only hope to do half as well as she.

Charlie Langford is the managing editor/production for the Daily Journal.

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