Breaking New Ground With Global News: Vice Launches Vice News

3 years ago

The way people get their news is quickly undergoing a much-needed evolution, thanks in part to media outlets such as Vice News that recognize the need to inform millennials in an inventive and innovative way. People still want to feel informed, but dry-as-toast broadcasts from journalists and outlets they don't always trust to tell them the truth simply aren't cutting it. Today's news needs to follow a simple but true philosophy that's quite familiar to the current generation: act locally but think globally.

Global News Matters


Image via Flickr by Ian Rutherford

Vice News came out swinging with Ukraine dispatches sharing stories about Russia's polarizing invasion of Crimea. This huge story was important for a number of reasons, beginning with Russia's recent time in the spotlight. A hot topic not just for hosting the recent Olympic games but also for political policies, Putin himself has lately been on the minds of news fans around the world. Vice News' breakout report gave the public what they wanted on that front.

Furthermore, this story enlightened viewers. They wanted to know the truth about what was going on, behind the propaganda, and that's what they received. Better still, they saw a gritty -- even dangerous -- report that brought home some of the tragedies and atrocities occurring globally. Today's viewers are of course interested in what's happening at home, but they're also hungry for global news that somehow pertains to them. They want to relate to it in some way.

Taking Internet News to the Next Level

Up to this point, many millennials turned to outlets such as Buzzfeed News to get their breaking stories. Vice News is similar, but a few major differences separate the programs. Once upon a time, Vice was more like Buzzfeed in that serious news stories found themselves sandwiched between Internet memes, interesting alt- and pop-culture stories, and other entertaining pieces. Buzzfeed News still offers those things, but Vice News has officially evolved.

In the interests of accessibility and versatility, viewers can get their stories across mobile platforms, or they can tune in for their news. However, the program is definitely making the most of the freedom you get on the Internet. That's why propaganda can get busted wide open, and why the program's format is easier to dictate and change. There's no schedule, so the story can decide its own format. Viewers aren't treated to fluff pieces and time-fillers, but can instead feel secure that they're getting the meat of the news, not just the condiments that add no substance.

Fact Checking and Zero Fluff

One problem Generation Y has with current news outlets and channels is their bias. They fear that they aren't always getting the full story, which makes them wary. After all, it's impossible to feel informed if you think you're only learning about one side of any particular issue. Vice News believes in presenting all sides. Even more importantly, the outlet firmly believes in fact-checking, which is an excellent way to appeal to millennials who are admirably interested in finding truth in the news stories they watch and read.

Fact-checking and presenting unbiased opinions each add to the outlet's integrity. Without integrity, no news outlet or channel is really worth anything. Once viewers stop believing in and trusting the people delivering their news, the ballgame is over. Recognizing this, Vice's CEO Shane Smith is a big believer in delivering news with integrity. That's why you won't tune in to see a bunch of irrelevant filler that has nothing to do with the biggest news stories of the day.

Out of the News Room and into the Fire


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Millennials are largely about action, and that's what they want to see as well. Realizing that the way news gets delivered needs to change, both Shane Smith and Vice News have taken it out of the news room. News rooms are boring, they're safe, and they're removed. Watching an anchor deliver even the most exciting or tragic story while sitting behind a desk makes the story seem two-dimensional, at best. It's harder to feel excited, outraged, touched, or saddened when you're simply looking at blurry video while listening to a reporter read a dry story.

With that in mind, Vice News doesn't believe in anchors. The outlet does believe in journalists -- serious journalists -- who are unafraid to present all sides of any story, even if it's provocative or polarizing. They get out into the fray to offer a new dimension. This kind of in-your-face reporting appeals to Generation Y, because they're more inspired to get involved, or at least engaged, when they feel a connection to what they're watching. Why else is reality TV so popular?

Reaching Out to Generation Y


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Given all this information, it's easy to understand that Generation Y is different from earlier generations. Just as they want their news delivered in a way that somehow affects them, they also have different viewing habits. They don't necessarily enjoy set formats and predictable story arcs. That, too, plays into Vice's decision to let the story tailor the format, so that no one feels like they're being forced to watch 30 minutes of a story better told in 15.

In another smart move, this is a news program that reaches out to the audience and clearly pays attention to what it wants. As a result, because Vice was basically born on the Internet, it recognizes the Internet's usefulness. Viewers can and are actively encouraged to share their opinions as quickly as possible. They can reach out via comments, editorials, blog posts, critiques, and social media. That also makes them feel like they're part of the process. That can only increase viewership, not to mention knowledge.

The news that this generation views as important has changed, and the way they view that news has changed as well—despite the fact that not all news outlets have recognized that. Vice News has, and the result is that more members of the millennial generation are not just watching, but getting involved and reaching out as well.

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