When technology fails

Technical gremlins got in the way of my web news this morning.

European insurer Fortis (link opens new window) was announcing its strategic review. The banking to insurance group went belly-up in the recent financial crisis and what is left is now just the solid, steady insurance business.

In the UK it recently partnered with Tesco to provide all the supermarket giant’s home and motor cover (my coverage from a campsite covered in Writing early morning web news).

Watching the clock

I was watching the website and there was no release at 6 or 6.30 this morning. Then suddenly there was a link. But when I clicked all I got was an error message:

web grab reading error page cannot be found

web grab

I called the press office and left a message. I emailed, copying in my UK PR contact – an out of office reply bounced back. I called another European PR, which diverted to a mobile and she had no computer access so gave me another number.

The ring/run around

That PR found a separate link for the information in the investors section of the website, but said they were now aware the press release was not working. And umpteen Forits PRs from various countries soon emailed too.

That story, and another stock market announcement – alleging fraud and dishonesty (it’s a scandal, the world of insurance) – meant ditching a couple of US-specific stories.

I wrote 8 stories this morning.

Website locked

And then when I posted them, someone last night locked the lead story, so all 8 of my new ones appear after a story left from yesterday.

I emailed the office about it – it is an old problem we had solved by making sure nobody locked stories. I got an out of office reply from the web news guy Danny Walkinshaw, which suggests somebody less used to the system has been standing in for him.

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