Computer trouble disrupts AP coverage for 5 hours

AP News
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Posted: Oct 25, 2010 10:13 PM
Computer trouble disrupts AP coverage for 5 hours

The Associated Press suffered a five-hour computer outage Monday that prevented much of its news coverage from being delivered to newspapers and some other media outlets.

The problems started at about 3 p.m. EDT as the news cooperative tried to apply a security patch recommended by Microsoft Corp. The AP wanted the added protection before next week's national and state elections.

To perform the security upgrade, AP switched from its main system to back-up computers and they failed, said Lorraine Cichowski, the AP's chief information officer. Engineers tried to revert to the main system only to run into trouble there, too. The breakdown wasn't completely fixed until about 8 p.m. EDT.

The outage shut down a news database that sends stories, photos and video through the Web instead of satellites, which the AP had relied on for years.

Most of the roughly 1,500 U.S. newspapers that receive AP's coverage have converted to the Web feed. Some of those newspapers could have fallen back on the old satellite technology on their premises.

The outage also affected online video customers.

Most broadcasters were still getting AP coverage during the outage as were the websites owned by the AP's biggest Internet customers, including Yahoo Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Google Inc.