Vice Is Launching a New Channel Focused on Healthcare as It Inevitably Changes

Tonic is publisher's answer to health coverage

Headshot of Sami Main

The state of the world's healthcare systems is officially punk rock, at least by Vice's standards.

Tonic, which launches today, is a new Vice property focused on telling "big-picture stories, leading-edge science, global health and politics, but also intimate personal accounts and advice for daily life," Kate Lowenstein, Tonic's editor in chief, told Adweek.

As with other Vice properties, the channel will feature short- and long-form documentaries as well as expanded editorial series.

"There is an enormous amount of uncertainty about how healthcare systems will be changed in the next year or so," Siddhartha Mukherjee, Tonic's editor at large, told Adweek. "We will cover these changes and their consequences through Tonic, putting a real face to the crisis of health insurance in the United States."

President-elect Donald Trump has promised changes to healthcare, Mukherjee pointed out, "but then gone back on some of these initial statements. Many people are anxious to understand what to do about potential upcoming laws."

Andrew Creighton, publisher of Tonic and co-president of Vice Media, told Adweek, "Health is the singular most important topic for us all. … Ultimately, it's life or death."

Tonic will have "International Mom Advice," among other regular features, because moms still know best. There will also be a regular column called "What I'm Freaking Out About Today," written by a "resident hypochondriac." 

Part of the launch includes sponsored series, though brands have no input in the editorial content. "The Tonic Guide to Healthcare," sponsored by Oscar Health Insurance, will delve "into the guts of the healthcare system, examining our relationships with doctors, insurance plans and health policies." Additionally, the not-for-profit health system Sutter Health will also partner for editorial, video and experiential series that will roll out in the new year.

"A piece about nanomedicine might show up alongside one about the women in South Africa who are most at risk of HIV," Lowenstein said, "next to an essay from a writer about how jump roping changed her life next to answers from a doctor about how to tell if you're drinking too much."

"We found only 13 percent of millennials feel comfortable managing their own health," Creighton said. "If we can help with this, we'll have done our job."

Mukherjee said, "Tonic will attempt to capture the pulse of this pivotal moment and provide real answers in real time to these many questions."

And Creighton added, "We want people to come away feeling in control so they can live their lives in the best possible way."




@samimain Sami Main is social editor for Adweek, where she posts Adweek content onto social platforms and looks for creative ways to communicate what's new.