NowThis, the digital publisher that Nielsen Digital Content Research estimates reaches about 60% of twentysomethings every month, is launching a new online show called “In This Together” to balance out the challenging reality of the coronavirus pandemic with the stories of people who are making a difference.
“Finding stories that are hopeful or optimistic, even around the most challenging issues, is kind of core or central to how we approach our coverage every day,” chief content officer Tina Exarhos told TheWrap by phone Thursday, pointing out that NowThis News typically does cover issues related to immigration, climate change and criminal justice reform. The formation of “In This Together” just made sense for NowThis, which gets about 2.5 billion monthly views across Facebook and other platforms.
“Broadly, we’re really looking at our everyday coverage of this crisis around coronavirus very, very seriously, again, because our audience is so young and we know that it’s that audience that really needs to hear what’s going on and take this really seriously. So, we’re trying to find that balance of optimism,” she said. “Those stories that we’ve been finding over the last few weeks have done incredibly well.”
The first episode of the series tells the story of an art teacher who’s offering her lessons through videos online in the hopes of showing isolated people the “joys of art” (you can watch the episode below). Future episodes highlight a couple making face shields for medical professionals, a cannabis company making hand sanitizer and a 3D printing company making protective gear.
Beyond those showcased in the short episodes, viewers are encouraged to make a difference, too, by donating to coronavirus-focused organizations using links on the sharable social videos. They can also submit story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Exarhos said there are challenges to creating a 100% remote show “no question,” but the NowThis team has adapted surprisingly well.
“I wouldn’t say seamlessly,” she added. “It’s certainly easier to be in a studio.”
Still, the production and editing teams are working together, she said, toward the common goal of making a feel-good show.
“Every crisis has an opportunity,” Exarhos said. “Who are the people who are really rebuilding right now for this moment and for positive change?”
Watch the premiere episode below.