The network at the Walter Cronkite School was down Wednesday afternoon for the third time since Sunday, IT director TJ Sokol said.
The school’s network is provided by CenturyLink and was down for over an hour, causing problems with data retrieval on the Cronkite server, Internet access on the building’s computers and phones lines, Sokol added.
The network crashed due to overloaded network switches caused by heavy data traffic in Cronkite, said Alex Juarez, the CenturyLink media contact for Phoenix.
CenturyLink is investigating where this traffic came from, but as of Wednesday evening, the problem’s origin is still unknown, Juarez added.
CenturyLink is potentially planning an upgrade for the Cronkite School’s network this weekend, according to Juarez. The company is redesigning the network, which would take place from midnight to 1 a.m. this Saturday to avoid any issues for students. The upgrade should prevent another overload and network crash, Juarez said.
The inability to retrieve data caused problems for Cronkite NewsWatch. With two hours to go before the live broadcast, students still had no access to the video packages, scripts or graphics that were stored on the Cronkite server, said Mark Lodato, Assistant Dean and News Director for Cronkite NewsWatch.
News Watch had to improvise, which involved a set-up similar to an election night, with story summaries and improvised dialogue instead of video packages, Lodato said.
“This is a teachable moment,” Lodato said. “We’re embracing the challenge.”
Anchors Tiffany Martin and Lesley Marin said they were trying to stay calm.
“We learn stories, get questions and act like we know what’s going on,” Martin said.
“We’re learning improv,” Marin added. “Lots of improv.”
After the 30-minute live broadcast ended, everything went a lot smoother than expected, Martin said. Lodato and Cronkite NewsWatch Executive Producer Melanie Alvarez agreed.
“Everyone was able to report their stories,” Alvarez said. “Even without video, we were able to bring people news just the same.”
Contact the reporter at email@example.com.