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Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016

You call this a reward?

Posted Tuesday, May 1, 2012, at 2:16 PM

Does this look real to you?
As a writer for a small town paper, it is rewarding to occasionally see my writing noticed beyond the Putnam County Community.

This happened to me recently when a story I wrote about Roger Bailey was picked up by the Associated Press. It was nice to see the story show up on the websites of newspapers in Columbus and Lafayette.

On the other hand, it was mystifying to see it show up in a couple of Wisconsin papers. But I won't complain.

One of our corporation's papers in Tennessee had a story catch on in an even bigger way this morning, and you can see why when you read the headline:

"Man arrested for using a real $50 bill"

You would click on that, wouldn't you? Already did? That's what I thought.

The headline caught so much attention, though, it was picked up and linked on the main page of Drudge Report not the kind of site papers our size usually get linked to.

So this is great news, correct? More pageviews is a positive thing, isn't it? Well, sort of.

The problem is that a lot of people read the Drudge Report (no thanks to it's eye-catching design) and a lot of people will click on a story with that headline.

As a company composed of small- to medium-market newspapers, we don't exactly have the capacity to handle that kind of traffic. I don't know if the problem is bandwidth or one of those other terms I only sort of understand, but super heavy internet traffic is just like super heavy car traffic.

If something happened tomorrow that attracted 100,000 people to Greencastle, we'd be in a world of hurt.

I also don't understand the technology behind why it also affects every site in the company, including our site. However, it's just our little inconvenience to deal with for a few hours.

It does seem like a terrible reward for writing an interesting story, but things could certainly be worse.

So we've sat here waiting for the last couple of hours. We had one obituary that needed to be posted and another already posted that needed a correction, and we could do nothing with it. If viewing our site was a pain, updating it was impossible.

If you are reading this, you can assume the problem has passed, or at least diminished somewhat. But if it took you forever to load this page, you can blame a store clerk and police in Tennessee who couldn't recognize a really old $50 bill.

Then again, I can't imagine any pictures of General Grant are popular deep down in Dixie.

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...and the beat goes on...
Jared Jernagan
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Jared Jernagan is a 2003 graduate of Wabash College and has been in journalism since 2005.
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