The group said the publishing teams at both news outlets are pivoting from its already-planned editorial calendar to focus on stories about the pandemic to include health and economic coverage and articles suited to the ballooning work-from-home population.
NOW Magazine and the Georgia Straight have a combined 6.5 million readers.
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"The COVID-19 story has had an impact on virtually all aspects of life in Canada,” the Georgia Straight’s editor Charlie Smith said in a statement.
“It's a public health crisis, but it's also transformed the economy, arts and culture, education, and the lives of parents with young children, not to mention older Canadians. For the Straight, it's been all hands-on deck to report on this pandemic in a way that connects to our readers," he added.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted reality as we know it, with entire nations going into isolation,” Kevin Richie, editor at NOW Magazine added. “It's the right thing to do, but we're all feeling a little cut off from one another.”
The title recently launched NOW What, a podcast sharing stories of how Torontonians are coping with the pandemic.
According to Media Central, between February 1 and April 8, 100% of the top five performing articles on NOW have been COVID-19 related. NOW’s online platform nowtoronto.com also saw a 48% spike in users during the month of March.
The expanded coverage comes at a time when Media Central was already planning to increase the frequency of digital content across its verticals.
"We are an extremely forward-thinking and nimble team,” Media Central CEO Brian Kalish told shareholders.
“Because of this, we have been able to expedite our plans to integrate our brands' content, develop new editorial streams and push omnichannel content distribution. This has proven valuable to both our readers and our advertising partners as we have seen significant growth across our digital footprint.”
Kalish added, “We are extremely mindful of providing the right mix of informative content around COVID-19 with more entertaining content that provides our readers relief while in isolation at home."
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