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ITD news nears desktop delivery

The Public Affairs office plans to deliver transportation-related news to your desktop on a daily basis. Work is progressing to put news clippings about ITD and transportation in Idaho on the department’s Intranet portal page, accessible by most department computers. The conversion from photocopied pages to electronic format might be complete by the end of this month.

The change represents a leap in customer service to ITD employees. Some advantages include:

  • News items will be available daily. In the past, a collection of news stories was delivered to ITD’ public affairs office every week from a clipping service. Hundreds clipped newspaper articles then were assembled into a booklet to be photocopied and distributed. Lag time between a story’s publication date and delivery of the booklets took up to two weeks.
  • Access will be widespread. The news clippings, which often consisted of 80 pages or more, were distributed to a limited number of people and to ITD break rooms in each district. Now, anyone with access to the ITD Intranet will be able to see department news coverage.
  • Searchable archives online. A customized database will allow people to search news items by publication source, dates, highway number, and more. Archives will be available going forward from the point the service goes online. Needless to say, labor-intensive searches through file drawers looking for a story about U.S. 95 won’t be missed.

“It’s a much more timely way of keeping informed about ITD news,” says Jeff Stratten, Public Information Officer. “As a department, we’ll be more effective in monitoring transportation- and ITD-related stories in the news, and be better positioned to respond when necessary.”

Stratten says much of the credit for the project’s success goes to Information Services staff members Peter Davidson and Carol Barton.

“They’ve been very helpful in creating a customized web application that meets our needs. We described what we were looking for, and they made it happen,” Stratten says.

The new process also is expected to yield cost savings for the department by eliminating clipping service fees and saving staff time that was devoted to assembly and distribution.

Some overlap of distribution methods (paper copies and Intranet posting) is expected while newspaper clippings and real-time news coverage converge, and while the system is refined.