The platform gives readers from all backgrounds and political camps the chance to video chat with a fellow citizen.
Reach launches Britain Connects, a timely twist on last year’s Britain Talks platform which matched up readers with polarised views and arranged for them to have face-to-face meetings.
This year’s version will focus on social closeness in a time of physical distancing – with video chats instead of face-to-face meetings – while still encouraging people with different views to come together and explore what unites them.
Supported by a custom platform (built by the Behavioural Insights Team) appearing across the Reach online network of national and regional titles, readers of all news brands will be prompted to fill in questionnaires and find their Britain Connects match. They will then be asked to sit down with their conversation partner on May 22 or May 24 over video chat.
The project is again being led by award-winning Mirror journalist Ros Wynne-Jones, who said: “Last year’s project came at the height of Brexit tensions dividing the nation. While we undoubtedly still live in a very polarised world, it will be fascinating to see how the pandemic has changed the way we feel about our fellow citizens.
“In addition, thousands of people are struggling with loneliness and isolation right now and we hope this will give many of them the chance to simply enjoy some social contact.”
Britain Connects is supported across the Reach portfolio of national and regional newsbrands, including by its famously opposing nationals the Mirror and the Express. Both Mirror Editor-in-Chief Alison Phillips and Express Editor-in-Chief Gary Jones will be participating in the chats, along with many other editors and columnists.
Watch highlights from one pair, Lynda and Jovan, who helped launch the project here.
If you’d like to participate and find your match, start here.