NOV 2, 2012

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Storm Stories

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Getting out our mortgage digital and print publications has been a bit of a challenge for us this week, courtesy of Hurricane Sandy. The job our staff has done and continues to do has been phenomenal.

The first thing to consider is, both our headquarters buildings, in New York City and in Northern Virginia, were closed by the storm. (They are 250 miles apart!) Our building in New York City, located near Battery Park in one of the lowest areas of Manhattan, remains out of commission and will remain so until sometime next week.

So for the past week we have been engaged in creating new ways to deliver our content without ready access to the programs we normally use to produce it. Laptops, handhelds, home computers, wifi hotspots, email blizzards where cell phone service was spotty and peregrinations from places without power to places with it have been the hallmarks of the week.

The digital side of our operations has been somewhat easier because multiple people already had access to what we needed. On the print side, I have been putting out National Mortgage News for more years than I care to admit to and this issue, the Nov. 5 edition, is the hardest I’ve ever had to get out.

It even tops the week of 9/11/2001. Our print deadline of 9/13 was tough to get done amidst the sorrow and uncertainties of those horrible days. But it was one way we could show the terrorists we weren’t cowed by their murderous ways, and we finished it on time, leading with the optimistic news that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae had not closed their trading desks during the attacks. We would survive (though 11 of our co-workers in another unit were killed) and so would the mortgage business.

The other big disaster of the last decade, the big New York City blackout, was a fait accompli. With the power off, there was no way we could meet our usual Thursday deadline, though we were within about two hours of doing so when the lights went out.

A sincere tip of the hat to all on our mortgage editorial and production team, some of whom suffered grievous damage to their property, and all the tech support people at our parent, SourceMedia. Bravo! We were forced to climb mountains we never even knew existed, and on deadline. And we’ve done it—so far! Next week brings all our digital editions again and two print deadlines, so wish us luck! A tip of the hat also to our senior editorial management, who stayed on top of the situation, offered assistance and marshaled resources.

Anyone check the weather report? What’s that, another nor’easter due on Wednesday? Well, we’ll take them one at a time. But the new storm will probably seem puny next to Sandy, which made the Perfect Storm seem imperfect, and brought most of our Northeastern Seaboard to its knees.

 

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