Washington Post editors explain last night’s publishing problems

Earlier today, I posted Washington Post staffers’ emails about last night’s “serious technical problems” that resulted in many subscribers not getting papers with stories about Michelle Obama’s speech and the Nationals game. Here’s a follow-up memo:

From: John Temple
Date: Wed, Sep 5, 2012 at 1:48 PM
Subject: Tuesday night’s publishing problems
To: NEWS – All Newsroom

As you all know by now, we experienced technical issues last night involving The Post’s computer network that caused the newsroom to lose connection with our data center and limited our ability to publish both to
print and the web. The problems began at about 10:30 p.m. — after we had published the first edition — and lasted about three hours. This meant that we were able to update about 40 percent of our metro delivery and single copy papers with the lead piece out of the Democratic convention, but we weren’t able to put the Nationals’ game in any papers. We did publish and deliver a strong paper to all of our readers, as well as a fully-updated special convention edition in Charlotte. Our publishing limitations also meant that on the website we had limited ability to update stories for several hours.

We had a hard-working and fast-thinking team on hand last night who worked into the early morning trying to trouble shoot the technical problems and devise work-arounds to enable us to publish outside normal channels. Through the cooperation of the tech team, circulation and production we were able to sharply limit the disruption to readers.

We’ve completed a post mortem of the technical issues and believe that we have a plan to address them.

Marcus, Liz, John, Shailesh

* “We experienced serious technical problems last night” (jimromenesko.com)