OPINION: The death of the scanner brings a new challenge

THE PRINT newsrooms are a lot quieter from the days when I started as a pimply-faced copy boy.

In those days the clatter of the typewriters, the swearing of the old hard-headed journos and the billowing smoke welcomed you into the nerve centre of a paper.

As a copy boy, you were expected to get the boss a coffee, stand at the photo copier for hours, grab toasted sandwiches for hungover scribes and race off the latest typed copy to the sub editors who never smiled.

There was also the noise from the scanners as they picked up all the action from the emergency services' radio transmissions.

The smoking is now gone, the typewriters are only found in antique shops and the swearing; well let's just say most of that is now done under our breath.

The scanners up until this week still called out code two emergencies that we'd jump to listen in on.

Now they are also obsolete after emergency services moved to an encrypted digital network which no-one but them can listen in on.

That is bad news for the media, but not as dire as it is for the likes of the tow truck drivers who relied on early crash tip-offs to win the right to repair a wreck.

The backup we now have are the citizen reporters who whip out their iPhones and start recording when they see an emergency happening.

We are now more than ever dependent on you to give us the early tip-offs, I trust we have some budding Lois Lanes and Clark Kents out there to help us.


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