When Disaster Strikes: Craiglist

I biked to Columbia today from Greenpoint Brooklyn. That’s a bit of a trek. About 9 miles as the car drives, but I probably did more since I had to veer here and there. The MTA strike is killing me. But it brings to mind possible stories.

Yesterday as my roommate hitched a ride via Craigslist to the airport I pitched a story to Wired. I was too late with the pitch and curious who beat me to it. When I read the story today, stranded in New York, I was happy it was Rachel Metz, a good writer that I admire.

This story was pretty much what I imagined myself writing. I got the idea from Keith Axline’s piece Craigslist vs. Katrina. Perhaps it’s wrong to compare the two (one a serious crisis and the other a mild inconvenience), but the parallels exist and although Metz never made the direct analogy it goes to show that Craigslist has solidified itself as more than just an electronic classifieds section but a community gathering place.

In some sense Met’z piece is formulaic — but I don’t say that with a negative connotation. A good journalist recognizes that certain situations have many facets. While some reporters are out on the streets archiving responses from the frustrated commuters, others are going to have to find a fresh angle. For a tech journalist the role of technology in a crisis like this is an obvious and important way to get inside and behind the story.

As for me, I’m tired from the bike ride. Too tired to upload a picture. This exhaustion will probably continue as long as I am forced to bike. With this in mind and my last post — I’m definitely taking the rest of the week off from blogging.

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