Readers will know that the Grapevine newsroom had to look out its window this morning to find a story about a hot dog stand moving. You might see that as old-school, on-the-spot, looking for scoops reporting, but the real reason is far more serious–RÚV’s teletext service Textavarpið has been malfunctioning in the past days.
The Grapevine’s main source of news is the old tube TV in the office. All day we sit in front of it, using the very old but reliable (or that’s what we thought) technology to know what is happening in the world. Therefore, we have been frantically looking for alternatives in recent days.
A newsroom in crisis
Several crisis meetings have been held in the editorial room since the malfunction started. We have discussed a variety of possible solutions: from using rotary phones to call people at random in the phonebook, to searching for things on Altavista and reading newspapers, but none of the options match up to what Textavarpið can offer.
Black magic needed
“We haven’t received many complaints, but some,” said RÚV IT staffer Eðvald Sveinbjörnsson. “The code is 12 years old, and the man responsible for Textavarpið is on holiday and we’ve had trouble finding the right people to fix it. You really need black magic to understand it.”
The problem lies with a broken connection between the teletext Textavarpið and the website textavarp.is, and Eðvald said that it is impossible to say when the service will be functioning correctly.
“I don’t dare to put any time frame on it, I need more information,” he said. “The skills needed for fixing Textavarpið have been somewhat lost and there are not many who know how to do it.”
We know our readers are understanding people and we feel the need to tell you that the mood in the newsroom has been gloomy. We pray the problem gets fixed soon, because if it doesn’t then we fear for the future of the Grapevine.