By Ken Stone
Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson. Prince Charles. Members of Congress. The novel coronavirus respects no fame or class. “We’re all in this together” is more than a platitude. It’s our stark reality.
So how are prominent San Diegans faring? How are they meeting the pandemic’s challenges in their own lives?
To find out, Times of San Diego today begins a series of interviews to depict the lifestyles of the well-known and homebound.
The first: Our publisher and editor Chris Jennewein, 65, a digital journalism pioneer — including seven years at The San Diego Union-Tribune as vice president for internet operations — who founded this independent news site in March 2014.
Chris Jennewein: Luckily, Times of San Diego has always been an Internet cloud service, so editing at home is no different than at our shared office space downtown. But it’s more intense at home, because it’s easier to be focused 24×7 on updating the news. With online press conferences, constant updates, and high traffic — as many as 100,000 readers a day — it’s both fulfilling and exhausting right now.
How many in your household — number of kids and adults? How are you all getting along?
There are three of us with my wife, Emily, and adult daughter, Maddy. Oh, and we have a new puppy, Razzleberry. Maddy is in the midst of moving, having completed her Ph.D. in Boston and heading to a postdoctoral position at a Seattle research laboratory next week. We had planned a family trip, but coronavirus intervened, and now Maddy will start her new job early.
How are you getting food and other necessities? How often do you personally go out, or are you taking delivery mostly?
Emily and Maddy are taking turns cooking. Maddy is baking a lot. I do the cleanup. We were walking daily on the beach, but with the recent closures, are now walking in the neighborhood. Getting takeout from different restaurants is the new treat.
Aside from official local, state and government channels, how are you getting news about the outbreak? How much social media do you use?
I’m constantly online in order to post the latest news, so I’m pretty well-informed. But we share some unique insights because Maddy is a virologist who will be working on an aspect of coronavirus when she gets to Seattle. She has emphasized to us how important the stay-at-home orders are.
How do you ward off negative emotions — fear, anxiety, depression? What steps are you taking to preserve mental and physical health?
Getting out and walking helps, especially when we can talk to neighbors — at a social distance, of course. Turning off the television brings calm. And responding to the needs of a 10-week-old puppy helps keeps things in perspective.
What else do you want people to know about your own personal response to the outbreak?
This is a crucial time. As a society, we can either defeat the virus now, or suffer a lot of heartbreak as people die.
First in a series. We invite suggestions for interview subjects — prominent San Diegans in politics, business, nonprofits, sports and the arts. Write to Ken Stone, contributing editor, or post a comment.
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