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Bugaboo: The Department of Education missed several self-imposed deadlines in September for renovating its computer systems to avoid the so-called Year 2000 computer glitch, according to the General Accounting Office. The behind-schedule systems involve key aspects of the student-loan delivery system and handle exchanges of information between the department and thousands of colleges and universities, lending institutions, and loan-guarantee organizations. Experts say they are worried that the delays might shorten the time available for testing the systems. "[The Education Department] faces a major task in conducting thorough end-to-end testing of multiple compliant systems. That will still be a major job ahead," Joel Willemssen, director of civil agencies information systems in the GAO's accounting and information-management division, told a House subcommittee last month. But acting Deputy Secretary of Education Marshall Smith told the panel that the department had made up for some of the delays. He expressed confidence that the processes and services the department oversees would not be disrupted by the glitch.

Broadcast News: Young people's views of world events may get a higher profile with the launch of an international news bureau for student journalists by the Cable News Network and Turner Learning Inc. The CNN Student Bureau, which will start operations in January, will assign stories to journalism and English classes and clubs at affiliated high schools and universities worldwide. The stories could potentially air on CNN, CNN/Sports Illustrated, CNN en Español, or other news outlets of Turner Broadcasting Inc., a subsidiary of Time Warner Inc. Most student stories, however, would air on CNN Newsroom, a news program that U.S. schools usually record at 4:30 a.m. daily on CNN for use in their classrooms; a special World Wide Web site; or the access channels of cable affiliates. Stories of regional, national, or international interest often will focus on young people's reactions to events, according to John Richards, senior vice president and general manager of Turner Learning, which will run the bureau jointly with the all-news cable channel. "If last week we were interested in the Brazilian election from a student perspective, we would ask [a Brazilian school affiliate] to cover that as a story," Richards says.

--Jeff Archer and Andrew Trotter

Vol. 10, Issue 3, Page 17

Published in Print: November 1, 1998, as Tech Talk
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