Thursday, May 13, 2010

Where Were The National And Foreign Desks On Tuesday? Somewhere In Long Island, Preparing For A Terrorist Attack.

Is the timing a coincidence, or in response to the recent Times Square bomber?

On Tuesday, the NYT's National and Foreign staffs left the comfy confines of Eighth Avenue to work from the NYT's "emergency facility" in New Hyde Park, on Long Island -- presumably in preparation for a day when the entire newsroom staff might need to evacuate its Times Square offices for an emergency.

An internal memo explains that the business, science and culture desks have previously checked out remote newsrooms in New Hyde Park and College Point -- both of which have the capacity to print papers, put news online, and other key editorial functions.

On Tuesday, the lead editors of both staffs -- foreign editor Susan Chira and national editor Richard Berke -- made their usual appearances at the 10:30 a.m. front page meetings filmed for the paper's daily "TimesCast" video. Maybe the bus left right after the meeting!

The NYT has had a remote newsroom for decades, as a defense against the unexpected. But it seems possible that the paper may be stepping up its practice routines, in the wake of the unsuccessful bombing attempt in Times Square last month.

Here is the memo, reprinted in full:

Where are National and Foreign Today?

Terry Schwadron writes: The National and Foreign desks will be working from the emergency facility in Long Island this afternoon and evening. The normal e-mail addresses and desk phones will reach the desks there. Once people are settled, we will compile a list of telephone extensions for distribution to all.

This is a test of the facility, which was created at New Hyde Park in the event that the Eighth Avenue building is unusable. There are 300 seats equipped with computer and phones. Science, BizDay, Culture and the feature sections have been to spaces at New Hyde Park or at College Point previously to write, edit and produce both pages for print and news for electronic distribution.

May 11, 9:13 a.m.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

They do these exercises two or three times a year.