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Bugs aside, Reuters is halfway to full editorial system rollout

Despite setbacks, Reuters has reached a major milestone in plans to overhaul its news production systems, crossing the halfway point in the migration in August.

The new Lynx Editor system, which replaces the decades-old System 77/Coyote, has been successfully adopted in Asia and much of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. More than half of Reuters’ text journalists now rely almost exclusively on Lynx Editor to write, edit and file copy.

This is a big achievement, Adrian Dickson, pictured, global head, news product, said in a message to editorial staff. 

Deployment in Europe is due to be completed by the end of September before moving to the Americas in the last months of the year. Remaining national services in Asia, the Middle East and Europe as well as a handful of smaller teams will start migrating to Lynx Editor in the first quarter of 2012.

“If all goes well by mid 2012 all Reuters journalists will be on the same editing system, capable of sharing stories and communicating with each other via screentop for the first time ever,” Dickson said.

“We’re only halfway there but already it’s been a long journey and not without its challenges. Twice in the last month Lynx users in Asia were forced to shift back briefly to System 77/Coyote following a systems outage that temporarily prevented journalists from using Lynx to edit and file copy.”

The first outage began with a small hardware failure that created instability in a data centre software system. The problem was compounded by errors in incident management. The second was caused by “errors in the release of a database script designed to optimize Lynx Editor performance… Fortunately technical teams learned the lessons of the previous incident and this time they were fast to shift users on to a support system.”

Dickson said: “These setbacks are never welcome. But they’re not unusual in projects of this magnitude given their complexity and spread across several geographies. Nor should we be surprised if we face similar incidents in the future. Over time journalist, support and development teams will become more practiced at anticipating bugs and at reacting quickly and effectively when they arise…

“We remain confident Lynx has the resiliency to manage the 10,000 plus stories that are filed over Reuters systems on most weekdays. We are also convinced Lynx is robust enough to continue to grow with us as demand for our news increases in the future.” ■