Overview of this campaign
The mission of Together is to bring joy to readers by telling stories that spark joy and that ultimately make them feel less alone during such a difficult time. Throughout the section, there is a focus on diversity and inclusion: Our aim is to feature people of all ethnicities, gender identities, sexual orientations and social classes. It’s a section where everyone — TV stars, diner owners, kids — is treating with equal respect and attention. The overall message is: We’re in this together.
To achieve this objective, we’ve created the following recurring content series:
City Index: A shop local spotlight with Torontonians recommending amazing Toronto people, places and things. Chefs suggest takeout ideas; musicians share their playlists; authors recommend reading lists and much more.
Changemaker: Celebrating local heroes, like the 9-year-old hockey players who raised thousands of dollars for charity, or the recent graduate who started a non-profit that connects university students with lonely seniors for weekly phone calls.
Spotlight: Cover features on inspiring Torontonians like Fitriya Mohamed, who started the Muslim Women’s Summer Basketball Legue, or Wali Shah, a spoken word poet who is following in the footsteps of his hero, Kendrick Lamar.
Landmark: Photo essay celebrating the history of a local institution like Pancers’ Deli, Bakka Books or the Avenue Diner.
Our Family: Showcasing family in many forms: Sangita Patel and family invited readers in for the first Christmas in their new home; Lainey Lui shared her weekend dog walk; Eiko Terashita, 85, shared her (COVID-safe) New Year’s Day feast.
Remembrance: Heartfelt features on Torontonians who dedicated their lives to making the city a better place.
Results for this campaign
The Together section has quickly become a premium destination read in the Toronto Star. Each issue features almost 50 percent original photography and illustration. True to the section’s spirit of inclusion, Together features a diverse array of talent in its contributor field, including established writers such as Vicky Mochama, who profiled Donté Colley for the December 27 edition, and newcomers like Jesse Rae West, who wrote about how adopting a rescue dog named Pumpkin helped him through his gender transition.
Each issue is thoughtfully themed and curated. The January 24 Music Issue featured a spotlight on a non-profit dedicated to helping lonely seniors find connection through music as well as a piece on emerging Indigenous music label Red Music Rising and a profile of the multi-instrumentalist artist Luna Li, who started streaming concerts from her bedroom during COVID. To coincide with this issue launch, Luna hosted a special mini-concert on The Star’s Instagram. This added layer of connection with readers is a signature of Together: For the February 7 issue, cover subject, spoken word poet Wali Shah, wrote and performed a poem on Instagram inspired by the values of the section.
The content has also resonated beyond the page: Since the section’s inception in late December 2020, the stories in Together have more than 500,000 unique visitors on thestar.com.
But the success of the section is perhaps best expressed by the many readers who have taken time to share their thoughts. Here is one: “We have been subscribers to Toronto Star for 40 plus years. We cancelled as we were missing stimulating journalism, upbeat and human interest articles. We renewed our subscription and are so impressed, especially with the new section Together with sharp photos and sharp stories.”