When I started at the Tribune in 2008, I had no idea about any of the inner workings of a newspaper or publishing company. Working in the IT department demanded that I gain a broad understanding of how people and departments come together in order to create a final product. It’s tough for clients to troubleshoot their issue in this field, because there are so many steps to get to the finish line.
Just to create a display ad takes more than 5 people. Someone enters in the data for placement and billing, another person decides precisely where that ad can go on a given day, yet another person creates the ad, someone else places the specific ad into that specific spot in the paper, and multiple people are involved in the printing of the physical product. If an issue is discovered along the way, easily half the battle is finding out where the problem started. Which software program handles the component that is incorrect? Is it the billing system, accessible only through a sweet text-based telnet connection? Is it the ad placement system that only runs on Macs? Is there a problem with the export settings of the CMS (Content Managment System)? Is the color management system attached to the press itself malfunctioning or missing information? Or did someone simply make a typo?
Figuring out solutions to these types of issues can be stressful for the clients, as they’re often on a deadline. Sometimes, the best solution is to find a workaround that can be implemented immediately instead of wasting valuable time in the moment. I’m not afraid to ask any and all questions, as I’ve found that sometimes clients can overlook simple short-term solutions in their stressed-out state of mind.