Next March will mark 23 years since I started at The Oklahoman. We had computers back then — but as far as I recall, all they did was serve as dumb terminals that allowed us to write stories and then hit send for them to be edited. We had a couple of Tandy laptops with detached rubber cup dial up modems. A single car phone was attached to the floor board of the company's Chrysler K car used by the cop reporter.
We had no Internet, no email, no Web pages, no blogs, no “social media,” and definitely no “Google hangouts.”
I'm not ready to play the part of the cranky old man, so when our Digital Managing Editor Alan Herzberger asked me to do a blog, I eventually agreed.
I was dragged into doing social media, and I'm still bewildered at my growing count of “followers” on Twitter (now topping 4,000). When Herzberger and digital editor Tiffany Gibson asked me to add a weekly live chat with readers, I agreed to that as well.
The next “ask” from Herzberger and Gibson sets me up for what may end up being a series of live video panel discussions hosted by Google. Visitors to NewsOK the past few weeks have seen the sports reporters doing their thing with Sports Editor Mike Sherman playing the role of John McLaughlin to the writers' McLaughlin Group crazies. The business desk energy team hosted a great Google hangout with some of the smartest people in the oil business last week as they discussed energy independence.
Now it's my turn. From 1 to 2 p.m. Wednesday I'll be discussing the continued growth and future development of the Oklahoma Health Center with Joel Frost, marketing manager for the Peggy and Charles Stephenson Cancer Center; Chuck Spicer, chief executive officer of The Children's Hospital at OU Medical Center; Dean Gandy with the University Hospitals Authority and Trust, and Jorge Charneco, an architect with Miles Associates who helped oversee much of the stunning design of the new children's hospital.
The time is right to discuss the Oklahoma Health Center. Just last week the University of Oklahoma announced it was acquiring the Presbyterian Health Foundation Research Park. In the past few years alone, the medical district has seen more than $500 million in construction — a very competitive pace of development compared to nearby downtown.
Please join me in this discussion on our NewsOK Live page. Readers don't have to be registered with Google+ (Google's version of Facebook) to watch the discussion, and will be able to ask their own questions via an accompanying live chat board (identical to the one embraced by readers every Friday).
We've come a long way since the days of the Tandy laptop.