What happened last week was both abrupt and inevitable—like that Hemingway line about going bankrupt gradually, then suddenly. You could feel the tremors as the coronavirus spread through China and East Asia, then to Italy and throughout Europe, then to Washington state and California and Oregon and North Carolina. The earthquake was coming.
Last Wednesday, it came.
The World Health Organization declared coronavirus a pandemic. Wall Street entered a bear market. The NBA suspended its season, and the ACC and NCAA announced that their championships would be played without fans. (The next day, those events were both canceled.) Full Frame canceled. UNC-Chapel Hill’s campus shut down. Duke Performances suspended its season.
It kept coming after that: Dreamville Festival, Raleigh’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, DPAC, The Carolina Theatre, Carolina Performing Arts. On Saturday, Governor Cooper closed schools statewide for two weeks and banned mass gatherings of more than 100 people for a month. On Tuesday, he shut down bars and restaurants.
Everything—everything—was canceled, closed, or postponed.
As a newspaper, this presented two dilemmas. Editorially, we didn’t have any events to write about, which meant we couldn’t publish our calendars or culture sections, so we had to scrap our plans and reconfigure this issue on the fly.
More urgently, this week’s issue marks the smallest newspaper the INDY has ever published; if you find a print copy, you’ll see it has very few ads. Our advertising revenue is linked to events that are no longer happening, concerts that are canceled, and bars and restaurants that are closed.
We’re facing the prospect of weeks or months deep in the red. We need your help.
Many of you have already joined the INDY Press Club, making monthly and one-time contributions to support local journalism. At the risk of sounding like a televangelist eyeballing a new 72-foot yacht, I need you to dig a bit deeper—a few extra bucks a month, another one-time donation. If you’re not a member—I cannot stress this enough—there is no time like the present. Please go to KeepItINDY.com today. It’ll only take a minute. Any amount helps. (If you prefer snail mail, mail your contribution to P.O. Box 1772, Durham, North Carolina 27702.)
This week marks my fifth anniversary at the INDY. I’m extraordinarily proud of the work we’ve done, and I’m extraordinarily blessed to live in a community that supports it. I want this paper to be strong enough to give the Triangle the journalism it deserves long after I’m gone. Help me make that happen.
Contact editor in chief Jeffrey C. Billman at email@example.com.
Support independent local journalism. Join the INDY Press Club to help us keep fearless watchdog reporting and essential arts and culture coverage viable in the Triangle.