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Fix, Refurbish, Recycle

February 27, 2011 1 comment

CNN's PJ Robinson, Pam Benson and Carol Cratty in the original DC Newsroom.

CNN Writer P.J. Robinson (left) types her script in November, 1983 on an IBM Selectric while Producers Pam Benson and Carol Cratty converse. It took a long time for the DC Bureau to move from Selectrics to computers to type scripts.

The first “personal” computer I ever used was at CNN’s original Washington, DC Bureau in what we called “Upper Georgetown.” At that time (likely 1983) we still typed on IBM Selectric typewriters to write our scripts. We also had access to dumb terminals connected to a central server – running a news program called “Basys” that allowed us to send internal text messages and check the wires, rundowns and other information (CNN was the first to use it, if I remember correctly).

But I still went in every morning at 3 A.M. for years and pulled stories for the morning shows from the teletype machines so my writers could write their stories on the Selectrics.

One day I noticed that our assistant bureau chief was trying to work with a computer called an Apple ///. She was actually taking it home to learn how to use it.  I’m not sure how that went, but I happily ended up with it when I started doing the intern program for the bureau. That initial experience ultimately led me to purchase my own Apple ///, an external hard drive and a set of ten floppy disks – at $10.00 each! I could have purchased an original Macintosh instead for about the same price – but since I’d worked with the ///, I felt I would get better use of it – and I did for many years.

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