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Internet nearly robbed you of your sports
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So there we were on a deadline day, Ted O’Neil, Pat Watkins and your’s truly.

Holed up mid-late-morning Wednesday in the world headquarters of the Bryan County News, working like the dedicated local journalists we like to think we are.

Then, this terrible thing happened. Ted looked at his computer, just like always, but it wasn’t doing what he wanted it to do.

Pat immediately sensed something was up.

Pat: "Are you down?"

Ted: "Yes."

Me: "You mean the internet is down?"

Ted: "Yep."

Pat: "Ah, gee whiz!"

Me: "Piffle!"

Ted: "Hoots!"

Chorus: "Again?"

Yes, again.

In fact, Internet outages seem to be a too frequent occurrence these days at our world headquarters, which is located sort of catty corner from J.F. Gregory Park in fast-growing Pooler, I mean Richmond Hill.

There, we’re squeezed into an office between some lawyers on one end and mortgage lenders on the other, which is probably an allegory, if I knew what an allegory was.

Of course, I can’t look it up because our Internet is down, but I digress.

Our provider is Comcast, and the reason they gave for no internet on a deadline day this time was scheduled maintenance by engineers.

Ted, a crafty sort with a well-known nose for news, found that out using the internet. He has CenturyLink for his internet provider, so he managed to use his smart phone to somehow get into an online chat with a Comcast customer service representative named Kush, who explained (after Pat found the serial number for our Comcast modem) that the internet would come back up within about an hour.

Kush also said we’d get a $10 credit to our account for the trouble it caused — potentially depriving our thousands of wonderful readers of their weekly ration of the Bryan County News.

Now, for those of you who don’t know what working in newspapers is like, internet outages can be major headaches. They’re royal pains in the place that rhymes with putt. Especially on deadline day.

That’s partly because this newspaper is a well oiled machine with thousands of moving parts. Kind of like a high school musical, but with less singing and with a cast of people who haven’t been in high school since at least the 1980s and, in one case, not since back when submarines were yellow.

NOTE: The internet just came back up. Hooray!

NOTE: #(*)#. Just went down again. Says Pat: "This is more fun than a stick in the eye."

Back to the story of how we make a newspaper, if anybody cares. I had an old sportswriter named Murray Poole once tell me nobody cares what issues we face to get the news, or in his case sports, they just want it.

He told me that after I told him I was once attacked in the loins by fire ants during a high school football game in Brunswick and he snorted at me and told me to stop whining and write the story, or at least make something up.


Paper making at the Bryan County News happens on Wednesdays, mostly. We get the dummy on Wednesday morning — that shows us where the news hole is and where the ads go — and the pages are put into a folder on the server, where we’ve also got pictures and stories.

We then lay out the pages, one at a time, digitally, and they’re then processed by our production department and shipped to our press in Statesboro. Then we go home and hang out.

At one point, there were perhaps more than 4,000 people involved in the process of making the Bryan County News, but thanks to Facebook and other forms of social media killing the newspaper industry, there are now just a handful, working sometimes round the clock to report on things like hurricanes and snowstorms and Chamber stuff, etc. Still, it seems like there are thousands of moving parts, and if one part of what’s left of the equation goes out of kilter, the whole thing can fall flat on its face and make us mad.

The internet is a big part of the equation. We use it to share files, send pages to the press and do other things I have never quite figured out, being a reporter who is usually not allowed anywhere near money.

But, no internet, maybe no News.

That’s certainly where we three were when I wrote this Wednesday afternoon after a healthy lunch of saltines and Walmart generic chili beans, waiting on the internet engineers from Comcast to put the spark plugs back in the motor, check the dipstick and coolant and crank the Internet back up so we can do our thing.

In the meantime, I’m thinking we should get Pembroke Advanced Communications to run some internet lines down here to help us out. Either that, or they should go up and show Comcast a thing or two about how to run a railroad.

And I know just who to ask, Pembroke Mafia Football League stalwart Noah Covington, also known as the King of North Bryan and District 1 county commissioner. Noah knows all about this advanced Internet fiber optic cable telephone email stuff, and he would probably be willing to eat the entire cost of the "broadband for Bryan County News project" -- or get the county to pay for it.

Yep. Make North Bryan Great Again. I’ll shoot him an email, soon as the internet comes back. up.

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