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March 17, 2020

The week we started thinking differently

So you've bought a lot of beans lately? Here's some food for thought from our publisher and some insight into what CityMag will do this week to give you information that makes you feel better.

  • Words: Josh Fanning
  • Photo of Paloma Bar & Kitchen: Josh Geelen


Right now it’s important to us that our network is feeling safe and informed about the evolving situation. Top of the list is you – then your loved ones. Call them, work out how each is feeling and how they’re reacting and what you can do to help.

This note is to let you know how CityMag plans to help.

Solstice Media – that’s InDaily and CityMag and SALIFE – is taking the COVID-19 situation seriously. We are also taking it seriously in the context of our jobs, which is to continue to report on this evolving situation and get you information you can use to inform your decision making – it’s just that we might do this reporting from home going forward.

InDaily will be publishing critical information as it unfolds on their news site. CityMag will be here to support you with some tactical ideas to help you take care of yourself in Adelaide (not just on the world wide web) and look at how this global event can and must give us cause to think and act differently as a society of decent, rational and creative human beings.

Who among us regrets not following Jessie Spiby’s advice on how to pickle and preserve things now?

Everyone needs access to reliable reporting right now, and – if you’re feeling anxious – might I suggest putting less energy into social media and sharing stories from distant cities around the world, and instead focus your time and energy on engaging with your real friends and family. You know – the one’s who may not agree with everything you say online, but you know you could trust if you needed some emergency loo paper because some silly person bought more than they needed?

What I’ve seen in the past 24 hours on social media has bewildered me. From a café forecasting its loss of earnings and launching a seemingly pre-emptive fundraising campaign, to videos of shopping aisles devoid of products. Regular people are becoming hoarders and out-and-out conservative survivalists, regardless of whether they voted in favour of equality in the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey.

In times of panic, the notion of equality, it seems, doesn’t extend to the tissue and toiletries aisles.

I’m not saying people are overreacting, I’m saying people are being dickheads.

Everyone is impacted by this event, not just individuals or individual families, or individual businesses.

The fact of this matter is that Australia is a great country with excellent and brave health professionals and (reasonably) stable government. Social distancing is already the norm in a city as lightly populated as Adelaide. You only need six feet to be safe and I couldn’t have bumped into anyone on Pirie Street if I tried just now.

Rather than re-sharing dire news stories of infection rates without context, why not look at the global counter and compare who’s doing better at containing the virus?

Germany and Spain have a similar level of infection and yet Spain has a far worse fatality rate. It gives me great reassurance that Germany’s doing well, because I trust that Australia’s health system is of a similar standard.

Also, Adelaide is in the middle of a food bowl with plenty of access to everything you need – we even manufacture our own toilet paper in the south east of the state.

Johnny – our editor – and I both believe it’s utterly irresponsible to give you information without context and without solutions. We also understand COVID-19 is all anyone is talking, or thinking, or acting on right now.

So – this Thursday at 3pm, when we send out our weekly EDM – we will have lots to say about what you can do and how you can manage this evolving situation with solid self-care and compassion for your community. We will of course be speaking with our advertisers and the businesses who make our work possible to see how they’re being impacted and how we can all help.

If you’re doing anything that needs reporting, such as changing your business, postponing an event, or creating new products that help people deal with the COVID-19 situation, please be in touch with me, personally, so we can connect you with the newsroom and spread information that will make people’s lives better and less stressful.

Uncertainty looms when communication stops. Let’s keep talking and working – together.

Thank you for your support,

Josh Fanning

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