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Transformation of FOCUS

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Leslie Campbell

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April 5, 2020

WE HAVE BEEN SPENDING MOST OF OUR TIME working on the transformation of FOCUS magazine to a digital version. We feel there needs to be new content, virtually every day, and that I—the social-media-luddite—need to promote it via Facebook and Twitter. Soon, we’ll have a donate button on the site, and hopefully sell some advertising. It’s a whole new business model.

We’re in good company—a lot of folks are re-inventing themselves and learning new skills right now. Still, at our age (well over 60), can we really pull this off? And does it mean we’ll be working our butts off each and every day to keep the site timely?

Today, a Sunday, we had decided to take off most of the day, but both of us got caught up in what seemed initially like minor technical issues to work out. I just wanted a good, explanatory “signature” on my email. But all sorts of things conspired to make that more difficult than one could imagine. I settled, for now, with a plain text message under my contact info stating: “FOCUS RESPONDS TO THE PANDEMIC: We’ve shifted from our bi-monthly print publishing schedule to frequent, online, place-based reporting and commentary at www.focusonvictoria.ca. Please join our community—register as a member at www.focusonvictoria.ca and follow us at https://www.facebook.com/FocusMagazineVictoria and https://twitter.com/FocusMagVic”

FOCUS readers and advertisers have been—are still—a wonderful community. But many of them have not made it a habit to visit us online, and we haven’t made it a priority to get them there. Until now. Like everyone else it seems, from yoga instructors to artists and educators to retailers, we are all being forced to gear up our online activity.

I have been communicating by phone and email with FOCUS advertising clients and others and have been impressed with the energetic, creative and positive ways organizations and businesses are responding. Everyone is concerned about the future, of course. But people are trying to make the best of it, and pushing themselves to learn new skills and ways of being.

We are starting a series of interviews with local small businesses and non-profits. I interviewed Stephen White at Dance Victoria for the first one. Marilyn McCrimmon is doing one on Munro’s Books; and I plan to interview Wendy Boyer of Victoria’s Iyengar Yoga Studio next week. It feels good to relay the stories of these creative, hard-working, worried-but-positive folks.

Finally, around 3 pm, David and I pulled ourselves away from our computers and hiked up and over to what we refer to as Bonsai Bluff (in honour of some very old bonsai-looking pine trees on the summit). The movement, the sunshine, and the view of the mountains felt very good.

 

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