Chronicling COVID: Victoria DiPlacido, ELLE Canada

ELLE’s digital director covers COVID-19’s effect on Canadian women

As we explore how COVID-19 has impacted journalism, Argyle’s Alex Kucharski chats with Victoria DiPlacido, digital director at ELLE Canada, about balancing the need for information and entertainment tailored to Canadian women, how she’s surviving isolation while supporting local businesses, and the work she is most proud of.

Argyle: How has COVID-19 affected the way that you and your team are putting together the ELLE Canada print magazine?

Victoria DiPlacido: As digital director, my focus is ELLE Canada’s website and social media channels. The print team works several months in advance, so that helped in terms of having fashion editorials and cover shoots done before social distancing measures were in place. Our editorial meetings are now taking place over Zoom. I’m really excited for everyone to see our June cover, which just dropped this week on ELLE Canada’s Instagram channel. It was shot back in February/beginning of March. It’s beautiful.

Argyle: As you oversee everything digital at ELLE Canada, how have you had to adjust your content strategy and what’s been your biggest challenge?

VP: The second week of March I stopped pretty much everything I was already working on and began assigning stories about COVID-19 and how it affects Canadian women. I’m lucky to work for an outlet where I am within the target demographic. I was joking on Twitter that some days I just want to (online) shop for shoes I’ll never wear anywhere and other days I can’t imagine doing anything other than figuring out how society is going to get through this pandemic and wondering what things will look like when we come out the other side. While my content strategy is not as simplistic as that, I do strive to have some balance between need-to-know coronavirus information and content that can make people laugh or escape a little bit. My biggest challenge has been trying to keep up with a relentless news cycle while working, like a lot of people, from my couch in a very small, not-very-soundproof apartment in Toronto with multiple roommates.

Argyle: How has the way you work with communications professionals changed?

VP: I’m definitely not as responsive to emails as I once was. I’m always interested in receiving fashion, beauty and culture pitches, but I’m prioritizing COVID-19 related content. We’ve also doubled down on our longstanding commitment to featuring Canadian brands.

Argyle: What is helping you get through this strange time?

VP: I’ve been having bags of coffee ground for a French press delivered to my house from my favourite local coffee shops, like Maderas and Hale. Also, wine deliveries from Revel Cider, Two Faces, Burdock Brewery, Grape Witches, Grape Crush. Getting those deliveries feels very luxurious to me and helping local small businesses, if you’re able to, is important right now.

Argyle: What’s been your best moment as an editor during COVID-19?

VP: I’m really proud of the dozens of stories we were able to share about how Canadian women – restaurant owners, front-line health care workers in long-term-care homes and ER rooms , and students – are dealing with the pandemic. We did an “ELLEness” week where we had mental health and wellness professionals, including a clinical psychologist, speak to our audience via Instagram Live. We’re also covering pregnancy and COVID-19 in depth; a few women reached out to me to say this article written by Amil Niazi was helpful to them. That is ultimately what every editor wants to hear: that their content spoke to their audience in a substantial way.

About Argyle’s ‘Chornicling COVID’ series
Journalism is essential during a crisis – and harder than ever during a pandemic when a reporter can’t get close to their sources. That’s why Argyle is turning the tables by interviewing prominent Canadian journalists. We aim to learn how they are coping, staying on top of the 24/7 news cycle, delivering fresh angles and insight, and engaging with communicators.

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