Out of an abundance of caution — the phrase of the moment — The Texas Tribune’s live events, in Austin and elsewhere, are going on hiatus. It should be obvious why: Fears about the coronavirus, real and existential, have resulted in cancellations of high-profile gatherings — people are hesitant to travel and don’t particularly want to be in a room with large crowds — and have affected school schedules and other mundane aspects of all of our lives. Under the circumstances, and until things change, this is the prudent thing to do. We’re sorry to have to make this decision.
The good news is, we’re always innovating. In the events realm, as in the way we produce and distribute our public-service journalism, we’re going to leverage technology to raise the level of civic engagement at a time when we need more people thinking about the issues in play and the state of the world. Through our livestreaming capabilities, we’re creating a virtual events series — online opportunities to hear from and engage with policymakers and newsmakers.
We’ll kick this off on Thursday, March 12, at 11:30 a.m. with Jason McLellan, an associate professor of molecular biosciences at the University of Texas at Austin and a leading expert on the coronavirus. He'll be interviewed by the Tribune's Alana Rocha. On Wednesday, March 25, at 8 a.m., I'll talk public health, the state of the post-SXSW-cancellation economy, paid sick leave and more with Austin Mayor Steve Adler. On March 26 at 8 a.m., I'll interview Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. These three events and any others we schedule will be streamed on the Tribune's site.
Don’t worry: Our in-person events will be back as soon as possible, and of course we can’t wait to tell you about all the big things we have cooking for this year’s Texas Tribune Festival, which is set for Sept. 24-26. Keep an eye out for programming announcements and other news related to our events here.
Disclosure: The University of Texas at Austin and Steve Adler a former Tribune board chair, have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. Find a complete list of them here.