If you’re looking for the coolest breaking news videos online then hop over to counter culture Vice Media. Today (at time of writing) they’re covering the Russian / Ukraine crisis. But this is no regular anchor sitting in the studio – you’ll discover Vice News’ Simon Ovstrovsky reporting from within the thick of the action, trying to get into the Naval High Command Base in Sevastopol. You will see real. unedited and candid conversations between the troops and ordinary people in the situation.
So what do the viewers think about the brave new world of Vice Breaking News:
‘Best coverage of the situation so far. Keep up the great work!’.
‘Agreed. As always, Vice does a better job than any other group out there’,
‘I f******g love simon, great work vice! More of the dialog between the soldiers please!’.
‘Who else has the heart to do this? No one. Keep doing what your doing’.
‘You guys have more balls than anyone I’ve ever seen, the service you are doing us and the world is beyond value. Please take care!’
‘Great and brave coverage, shows more angles to the situation than CNN.’
‘VICE = Big Balls – this is what we want to see.’
There are video reports from the North Korean labor camps and the Libyan Revolution:
This new news platform started this week and will have franchises like the Daily Vice News Capsule and more live stream coverage from breaking events. To deliver the ground level content Vice has hired more than 1,000 local reporters globally. So what started as an arts, culture and current events magazine in Montreal looks set to compete with the world’s mainstream outlets. The videos are similar to Vice’s HBO series of short-form documentaries, – but are only four-and-a-half minutes on average. The new initiative follows the launch of Vice’s YouTube channel with the hiring of around 60 in-house journalists and is supported by a $50M investment within the group.
Vice co-founder and CEO Shane Smith was reported in the Wall Street Journal last November:
We looked at how we should launch a sort of new product, something that isn’t derivative, something that is new that’s using technology. We’re not just trying to be seen and liked.
Up until now Vice has rarely attempted to cover breaking news but Smith said the technology accessible for journalists helped them believe they could do news reporting in a fresh and innovative way. “There is no hard and fast style guide to how Vice is going to look because we’re trying all new things,” he said. “I think it’s barely possibly now. We’re literally going out there right now at the first point where you can put all this shit together and have it work somewhat … It’s literally the wild west of technology now.”
“Young people, who are the majority of our audience, are angry, disenfranchised, and they don’t like or trust mainstream media outlets,” he recently told The Guardian.
And all this new activity recently got the attention of 21st Century Fox who took a 5% stake in the company. The investment valued Vice at $1.4 billion. “We’re making money, almost pure margin, off of things that we’ve already monetized here,” Smith said. “We sort of looked at that and said we need to make more and better content in each vertical. “There’s going to be a lot more content coming out of Vice this year on a lot more platforms,” Smith added. “You’re going to see Vice everywhere.”
Should the BBC and CNN et al be worried? Well maybe not today, but as the news viewers of tomorrow get used to this bite sized, ball grabbing reporting online – they may be watching Vice’s progress with more than a casual interest before too long.