Vancouver's Georgia Straight and Toronto's NOW Magazine have collaborated to deliver a special edition on the global coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, scheduled to hit stands on March 19, the company said in a statement Wednesday.
"This is the first of many in-depth national features that will appear simultaneously in Media Central's Toronto and Vancouver publications, NOW and the Georgia Straight, the two largest localized alternative titles in Canada,” said CEO Brian Kalish.
“For decades these titles have individually played vital roles in how Canadians in Vancouver and Toronto inform themselves around national affairs. After acquiring these two iconic titles we now can unify their audiences with one clear voice," Kalish said
He added: "Media Central is effectively integrating its talented editorial teams in two major Canadian cities to engage a national audience of 6.5 million readers with best-in-class content. This opens up huge opportunities for the company."
The weekly print editions of both publications will release a shared cover story delving into viral fear and the science behind what is making some Canadians react with panicked behaviors.
"The anxiety around the pandemic has got to a point where we're seeing the public emptying shelves of necessities like toilet paper and canned goods, despite there being no indication that the distribution of food and other necessities will be affected," said Charlie Smith, the Straight's Editor, who wrote the feature.
"The goal of this article is to help both the Straight's and NOW's readers understand why they feel so fearful and, in turn, to try to help them better deal with their emotions at this anxious time. In order to give quality insight, we spoke to leading psychiatric experts to explain the behaviors that are being exhibited at this time. We've teamed this with data on the nature of the pandemic, including news about where it's been contained in Canada with some success.”
While the two publications will share the cover feature, they will both publish unique content covering coronavirus from a local perspective. Additionally, the Straight and NOW will release separate covers, with the Straight featuring original art by New York-based artist Matt Mignanelli and NOW releasing a photography-based cover by staff photographer Samuel Engelking. For the first time ever, each publication will also share each other's cover, promoting content that can be found only on the other's site.
Extended print coverage around coronavirus includes the Straight examining how the virus has hurt Vancouver's arts companies and how cannabis can help ease anxiety during these times. In NOW, Natalie Manzocco shares how Toronto restaurants are coping while Radheyan Simopillai reports on how stage artists are shifting to livestreaming and finding entrepreneurial ways to drum up financial support
Both publications will also publish additional content online via their social platforms.
Online exclusives will include live updates on coronavirus, updated lists of places and events that are open, closed or canceled, lifestyle articles on what readers can do to entertain themselves at home, and stories on how the virus is impacting dating and sex.
On nowtoronto.com, Richard Longley explores the history of past epidemics in Toronto and how they have transformed the city, Jon Yazer comments on what hospitals are doing to prepare for the infected and Enzo DiMatteo shares a first-person account of his recent shopping expedition.
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