The Victoria Times Colonist was the driving force behind the Rapid Relief Fund, which raised more than $6 million for those in need. The fund was inspired by two full-page letters by publisher Dave Obee on the first weekend of the crisis, and was launched one week later.
Along with launching the fund, the Times Colonist has published a heart flag for readers to place in their windows, replaced the historic crest on the newspaper’s masthead with a heart, asked businesses to submit commentaries on how they have been affected, and offered free we-are-open listings to businesses.
“We have a responsibility to help lead the community through this crisis,” Obee says. “People turn to us for news, but also for guidance and hope. We are providing what they need.”
The end result is a greater appreciation for the work of the Times Colonist, which has seen an increase in paid circulation since the pandemic began.