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The Y2K Reporting Crash - Y2K Optimists Were Out There.

Of the looming threat of the year 2000 computer problem, software expert Nicholas Zvegintzov said back in December 1998: "I still don't see any evidence of a likelihood of serious disruptions. Being afraid isn't evidence."

Zvegintzov, who is president of Software Management Network in New York City, was one of a sizable minority of computer authorities who stood against the tide of those predicting considerable Y2K-related worldwide interruptions of electricity, water and sewer service, telecommunications, financial markets, business dealings, and other fundamental aspects of civilization with the arrival of the year 2000.

But the software company leader and others like him whose views were quoted on the Web site got little coverage in the mainstream media, which focused almost exclusively on experts who were far more pessimistic.

Like Zvegintzov, Michael Maynard was a Y2K optimist. President of Azimuth Partners, a management and technology consulting company, he said in December 1999: "Now that the real Y2K crisis, the awful NBC movie [Y2K, which aired November 21], is over, we can relax and just count down the days. Amen."

A few months earlier, he had declared: "I haven't seen any objective or factually proven articles or statements that give any credence to [the Y2K worries]."

Then there was Charles Reuben, a prominent Dallas businessman who has been working with computers for 20 years and programs in nine languages. He said in August 1999: "Aside from minor accidents during Y2K testing quickly solved by human intervention, there is no evidence of any 'emerging crisis.' "

In May 1999, Reuben had said that "Y2K as a business/computer problem is over."

The bottom line appears to be that the major media didn't give any real play to Y2K optimists, despite their ready availability.

In addition, reporters and editors failed to notice a phenomenon in many developing and newly industrialized countries. Governments would admit to a lack of Y2K preparedness while business and utilities managers on the grassroots level were fixing the computer problems without fanfare, beneath the media's radar.

"I don't think [journalists] ever really did in-depth analysis," says computer expert Steve Davis, author of Y2K Risk Management, complaining about the virtual absence of Y2K investigative reporting during 1999.

----The Editor

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Author:Eisenberg, Paul
Publication:World and I
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Aug 1, 2000
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