We Have an Issue: Hang In There
I've been thinking of this stage we're in as "triage" – all apologies to the actual medical personnel that are doing heroic work indeed, not just responding to the COVID-19 outbreak but continuing to respond to our regular needs when bones have to be set and biopsies looked at under a microscope.
Of course, if we're making lists of people going above and beyond in this ongoing crisis, you can add all our first responders, who at least have training for how to behave in an emergency situation, unlike the rest of us poor schmucks who are wondering when the floor is going to stop dropping out and we'll find ourselves, finally, on whatever shaky ground constitutes our new normal.
The grocery store workers and bus drivers and sanitation workers and mail carriers still showing up to work and getting it done – they go on the list, too.
DJ Mel definitely goes on the list; I'm among the thousands who tuned in last Saturday for his joyful Facebook Live Living Dance Room Party DJ set (read more about that in Kevin Curtin's "Livestreaming in the Age of Quarantine"). All the artists and entertainers still figuring out ways to brighten the world and give us something to chew on other than our nails – on the list.
You know what? If you're not actively being an asshole? You're on the list. Participation medals for every last one of us.
So back to triage.
What we've been doing at the Chronicle is likely what the rest of you have been doing – assessing the most urgent needs and focusing on those. For us, that's mostly meant the breaking news stuff, reporting on the latest guidance from health authorities, the new rules on gathering, all the cancellations and closures and modified hours, and the restaurants reinventing their service models overnight to become takeout operations. In the past seven days, we've posted more than 50 new stories online, which is a lot considering our primary focus (and our staffing model) has always been on pushing a print issue out the door once a week.
In these trying times, we've made the difficult decision to go to an every other week printing schedule. That means, for the first time since our first seven years of operation, you will not see a Chronicle on stands next week. But you will see us online, every day. And as we're moving out of triage, into this new normal, you'll see more stories from us that look like, well, our usual stories. Artist and author interviews. Film and record reviews. Deep dives on city politics.
Some things are going to look a little different. With most events canceled, our calendar listings need to mutate. Going forward, that's where we'll list livestream performances, virtual races, webinars, volunteer and donation needs, and any job opportunities we hear of in this new outbreak economy. We'll also be rolling out new features – Food Editor Jessi Cape has been working on a recipe bank that'll help fill the hours of house lockdown – and we'll be revisiting some of our favorite stories from our past 40 years.
In this time of social distancing, staying connected matters now more than ever. If you aren't doing so already, follow us on social media. Share our stories. Sign up for our newsletters. Find a community on our message boards. Buy a subscription to get the paper delivered to you, or support our work with a one-time or recurring donation.
Stay in touch. We're still here.
Editor's note: After this issue went to press, we received word one of our staffers has tested positive for the virus. We're following the recommended protocols, and we're going to keep reporting the news, from a safe distance.
Let's Get Through This Thing Together
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The Austin Chronicle Show on KOOP 91.7FM Is on Hiatus
KOOP Community Radio, which hosts our weekly radio show, has temporarily suspended live operations at KOOP studios in order for staff and volunteers to stay home and stay safe. We look forward to getting back on the air with our friends at KOOP soon. In the meantime, you can listen to past episodes of The Austin Chronicle Show, as well as find Chronicle original video content like Kevin Curtin's musician interview webseries The Q&A Hole, at austinchronicle.com/av.