Saying goodbye to 2013

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This has been, quite decidedly, one of the most unusual years of my life. I actually thought the addition of a beagle to the family was going to be the highlight.

Being a journalist, I’m in the habit of sending out the old year with a top 10 list. For the past five years, that’s meant a top 10 for Grafton news. Given the change of course in 2013, here are 8 things I learned in 2013:

1) What’s worse than being laid off? Having your entire staff laid off with you and the sites you created shuttered. The Daily Voice, facing bankruptcy from a bunch of bone-headed and egotistical decisions (opening an office in Manhattan, not paying attention to the actions of the CEO, spending money on ridiculous parties, ignoring community news), closed down its 12 Massachusetts sites in March and laid off a good two-thirds of its staff in Connecticut and New York as well.

I had a good laugh today on hearing their latest plan, a weekly print edition. Yeah, that will work.

2) Always be friendly with your competitors, because they may one day be your colleagues. I had a very busy unemployment, spent having coffee with multiple editors offering advice and, in some cases, homes for my reporters. I now work at The Sun of Lowell, across the aisle from Rick Sobey, my former Milford and Auburn reporter, and directly facing Tom Zuppa, who 20 years ago was the competing Middlesex News bureau chief while I covered city hall for the Enterprise-Sun of Marlborough. .

There is nothing nicer than starting a new job with an old friend.

3) Be a good teacher. I am immensely proud of former Grafton Daily Voice reporter Richard Price, who bounced back from the layoff by starting up The Grafton Villager. I am amazed by high school classmate Jennifer Doyle, who created Upton Daily. Both of them are adding needed community coverage and, in Rich’s case,  making me a little less guilty about not starting over again with Greater Grafton.

4) Timing is everything. If the Daily Voice hadn’t folded, our Boston Marathon coverage plan had me at the finish line tracking local amateur runners. The journalist in me regrets not being there. As it was, the Marathon bombing was the first major news event in decades that I experienced as a news consumer, safely at home on the couch.

5) Don’t eat salad and drive. This is one of those things most people know intuitively, but I discovered, after an idiot from New Hampshire slammed into my car on 495, that this is actually something that must be said. On the plus side, I wasn’t hurt, friends came out in droves to express relief and laugh, and I love my new car. On the negative side, there’s a warrant out for salad schmuck’s arrest. Who would have thought a hit and run driver would skip out on court?

6) Thank God for the Red Sox. What could possibly be better than a sunny fall day with my dad and my son, watching bearded duck boats roll by as David Ortiz played DJ and the Dropkick Murphys performed “Shipping Up to Boston?” We actually have traditions for when the Red Sox win the World Series. Ponder that one.

7) My husband is a saint for putting up with all of this.

8) Stay optimistic. We got knocked down. We got back up again. I’m leaving 2013 with a toss of the hair, a raised eyebrow and a “Seriously?”

Wonder what kind of adventures await in 2014?

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