Ok, so we’ve found an apartment in Cambridge and rented out our Roanoke Ugly — a giant four-square that’s twice the size of our Cambridge digs but only half the cost. We’ve even held the obligatory yard sale, ditching the ill-fitting pants, tattered Yu-Gi-Oh cards and some of Aunt Barbara’s geegaws (she let us keep the cash; oh, how I will miss the world’s best auntie!).
The big break came today, though. Due to the miracle of Facebook, it only took five hours to find a home for the 10-year-old’s hamster as well as the guinea pig the teenager’s been wanting to unload for some time — the last vestige of the little boy who used to play with her on the floor (which makes me sad, but that’s another story, one that feels even more sober than the one I’m relating now).
No wonder the Web is killing our business. A few years ago, with a “Free to Good Home” ad in the newspaper classifieds, it would have taken days before the rodents were out of our house — and they would have gone to strangers, not a former student of mine and his wife (I’m considering this payback for writing his law school rec letter!), a young family that is thrilled to be giving their four-year-old daughter the pets for her birthday this weekend.
Using Craigslist, it took all of two hours to nab a renter for our house. We found a rental in Cambridge via a Web site called SabbaticalHomes.com; the landlord is a Columbia University professor who was residing in Berlin for the school year and, via email and just one international phone call, we hammered out a lease agreement and even talked her into letting us bring the mutt.
We used Kayak.com to score a super deal on two flights to Boston at the end of the month so Tom and the teenager can get the lay out of the land (and hopefully put some of the high schooler’s angst about the move to rest). Maybe then he’ll stop insisting that the only person this move to Cambridge is good for is ME!
Throughout the moving-prep process, nary a newspaper reared its head — except when it came to packing the dishes. While I try to remain optimistic, I really do wonder about the financial future of our business. I think there’ll still be a newspaper to return to next summer; I’m just not sure how well staffed it’ll be.
And yet we can’t count on Craigslist, or even Twitter, to be out there making the public’s business known, as my colleague David Harrison has done so well in recent days with his school scandal coverage. Facebook can provide us with plenty opinions on the school scandal, but as for the kind of reporting Harrison does — pouring over documents, talking to investigators, sifting through both sides of the story and then relating it in a clear and understandable way — there’s no replacing a guy like Harrison, who’s as good a beat reporter as they come.
By the way, I was thrilled to note that editors advertised his position a few weeks back, shortly after he announced he was leaving us for grad school — and, sigh, another career. Another good one gone. In these attrition-heavy times, we can ill-afford one more empty newsroom desk.
The ad, in case you’re interested, is posted — online, of course — at Journalismjobs.com.