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Focus catapulted online

Leslie Campbell


March 23, 2020

LISTENING TO DR HENRY THIS MORNING. BCs total COVID-19 cases are up another 48 cases to 472; 3 more deaths. David tells me Quebec’s number of cases has risen dramatically. All the numbers swim in my brain.

I am also thinking about both my garden and Focus. Both are pressing but thankfully the garden is more physical and outside. Today has some sunshine which will help our spirits.

But what to do about Focus? Our talented writers are geared up to write about something pandemic-related. But what can we do that’s different, that adds something useful to the conversation?

Amongst other things, we seem to be settled on the “conversation” idea, one to which our writers—and readers—can bring their special skills at research and communication. David, with Ross Crockford’s and my input, is developing topics for stories and forums. With the social distancing we need such ways to connect.

We do accept that Focus, at least for the next edition or two, is an online “publication,” rather than a print one. We are not convinced it can ever be on paper again given the financial realities. Most of Focus advertisers (the source of 97 percent of our revenue) have been forced to cancel their art shows and performances, or close their doors. It’s a stark new reality for them (and us) that I honestly cannot fully process.

I know both the federal and provincial governments are coming up with funding programs to help businesses as well as citizens. Understandably they are aimed at wage subsidization, tax deferrals and rent relief. Focus has two modestly paid employees (David and I) and a dozen freelance writers, but the bulk of our expense is our printing and distribution bills. I cannot foresee those being paid by any government programs.

Perhaps it is time anyway for Focus to move off paper—to be tree-free is a very good thing for both both biodiversity and carbon storage reasons. I am getting emails from other organizations, from galleries to dance companies, about their new digital moves. Thank goodness for the internet.



Bigleaf maple felled for no apparent reason 


Speaking of tree-free, on a recent walk along a road to Open Bay, we came across a big healthy Bigleaf maple that had just been cut down. For no apparent reason. The only thing we could figure was that it might have been a bit close to hydro lines. It was a tragic sight, an example of how our culture sacrifices life-giving nature all too easily.

I welcome your response, either as a comment below or privately through the “Contact Us” button at the bottom of this page.





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