NYT editor says staff handled today’s site outage ‘with patience, determination and even good humor’

New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson’s memo to staff about today’s website outage:

Subject: A Note From Jill: Tweeting the News, and Then Some

Dear Colleagues,

It’s been the stuff of bad dreams for us all — what would happen if our Web site went down — really went down —and e-mail went down at the same time? Today, on a day when the news out of Egypt is riveting the entire world, we were inaccessible to our readers for nearly two hours.
At about 11:15 this morning we began to get the answer, as people all over the newsroom started talking about problems with our e-mail system. The widespread grousing quickly turned to stunned silence as the realization set in that it wasn’t just our e-mail, it was our Web site as well.

We are nothing if not resourceful. With a calm and laser-like focus, exemplified by Assistant Managing Editor Ian Fisher, everyone on every desk was focused on how to publish the world’s greatest news report through alternative means./CONTINUES

All desks began tweeting their news, especially Foreign with constant updates out of Egypt. Versions of stories were prepared to go up on Facebook. In fact we posted a full write through of the Egypt story and a news analysis. We put up the Jesse Jackson story. And we had a preview of the Israeli Palestinian talks.

Without missing a beat or looking up from her computer Lexi Mainland was overheard saying, “We’re doing write throughs right here off Facebook. It’s all happening. Photos. Links.”

And we were. We became a social media event ourselves. Funny tweets, snarky tweets, loving tweets started appearing:

And of course our competitors thought they could take advantage of the temporary absence of our web page:

By about 1 p.m., the home page was back for most people and our e-mail system was up and running.

It took a cast of hundreds to keep us on track. Arthur was a rock and with our colleagues in the technology department, led by Rajiv Pant, kept me on top of things minute by minute.

All of you handled a difficult moment with patience, determination and even good humor. I am very grateful and proud of each of you for your unwavering devotion to our readers .

Fondly, Jill


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