The news organization and Brooklyn magazine, Vice, is well known for its unique journalism style. They gain access to places mainstream media can’t through their immerse and adventurous journalism. Whether it is North Korea or Belize, Vice reporters go where others cannot or will not. From eating alongside Kim Jung-un and Dennis Rodman to traveling alongside fugitive John McAfee, Vice has shown no limits to the extent they will go to cover important and even dangerous stories.
Their progressive efforts have brought attention and even criticism from mainstream media. Their adventurous approach was utilized for their coverage of Dennis Rodman in North Korea, which mainstream media criticized, labeling them “stunt” journalists. Meanwhile Vice notes that at the same time of this criticism the BBC was trying to sneak in two journalists under the cover of two foreign students.
Vice originally started as a music magazine in Montreal 20 years ago but has since grown into an international media company. Vice is not stopping there though; owner Shane Smith expressed his ambition for Vice to be the largest global online media network which will represent “the voice of the angry youth.”
The “Millennial” media company that initially gained recognition via their YouTube channel and Brooklyn-based magazine is known for throwing out the standards of old journalism and immersing themselves in the reality of the stories they cover. Vice media’s catch line, “Vice will expose the absurdity of the modern condition,” is an accurate description of their approach as a news show for HBO. The stories can be graphic and the news organization may seem sensationalistic but their dedication and creativity is as eye-opening as it is unmatched.
Vice, however, argues that they are not sensationalistic. It is the stories they cover that make them seem sensationalistic but the actual coverage is fact-based. Vice points to the coverage of the slave labour camps in Liberia as an example.
The coverage featured cannibal and mass murderer General Butt Naked who murdered 20,000 individuals and even went so far as to eat some of the remains. This is not exaggeration though, it’s simply an “absurd” fact just as their catch line notes.
The show, which appears Fridays at 11 p.m. on HBO, is organized and presented in a documentary fashion. The diverse range of reporters from various countries allow an inside look into current events from the perspective of the people living the story. This narrative approach combined with ethnographic research allows for a cutting edge and groundbreaking style of journalism that is both captivating and informative.
Shane Smith’s desire to create “the next CNN” through a “changing of the guard within the media” is certainly becoming a reality. The show has run for two provocative seasons covering in-depth topics including the Arab Spring revolution.
In short, Vice on HBO is news from the insider’s perspective — news from the people living it. Vice is eye opening, raw and honest, and this is why you should be watching Vice on HBO.
— Christopher Kolezynski
Sources: The Guardian, HBO Vice, Washington Post, NY Times, NY Times Magazine