Inside the Newsroom @ A2 Journal

Welcome to Inside the Newsroom @ A2 Journal, a blog written by the newspaper's staff at A2 Journal, a new, weekly, community newspaper covering Ann Arbor. This blog is a place for members of the newspaper's staff to write their thoughts, observations, opinions and other informative pieces they put together while covering the rich history, interesting people, institutions and traditions that make Ann Arbor such a unique community.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

If/when the president returns, can we please get some wi-fi?

With President Barack Obama coming to Ann Arbor, it's expected that dozens of journalists will descend onto campus and report on the speech.

It's also expected that they'll use the most modern tools they have available to help send the message out, and that is the Internet.

So, why hold a presidential speech in a place where journalists can't access the Internet?

Our live coverage Friday, which mostly consisted of a live tweet stream from Al Glick Field House, saw several delays in posting, partially due to lacking 3G internet speeds (our netbooks have 3G built in them, allowing us to access the web anywhere we have a 3G signal, which should include Ann Arbor). But being on a college campus that I would assume has WiFi access, why not allow journalists to access it?

While we could have brought a MiFi hotspot, I'm not so sure it would have helped. Using our 3G access, my colleagues could barely send a text file for filing, and photos took even longer, even though they were compressed.

The best summarization of how many reporters there must have felt came from a tweet from Chris Gautz, a reporter with Gongwer:

There must be a way for the University to give guest access to those requiring the internet to properly do their job on a public university's campus. It hurt our live coverage, and I'm sure it hurt others' as well.

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