Correspondents often present stories from global danger zones
The network may be different, but the mission remains the same for the team behind “VICE.”
The Emmy-winning documentary series that spent six seasons on HBO — giving rise to a weeknight “VICE News Tonight” during its last three years there — relocates to Showtime starting Sunday, March 29. Other than that move, relatively little about the program has changed, which its makers consider one of its main strengths. Its correspondents continue to report on stories from such hot spots around the globe as Iraq and Syria, but universal topics including gun control and gender equality also factor in.
“I think one of the things for me that’s always set VICE News apart is that we are ahead of the curve,” maintains Jesse Angelo, president of global news and entertainment for VICE Media (which also has its own VICE TV channel). “We see where the story is going before other people. If you look back at our reporting on ISIS (or) on the alt right, before anybody was talking about this, we were on the ground covering those stories.
“For this show,” adds Angelo, “we are already deployed in a lot of places in regions that I would wager that most people have never heard of … and are not aware that are going to become global hotspots and groups that are going to become in the headlines over the next year or two. We pride ourselves on being able to do that.”
One of correspondents, Seb Walker, says he deems the “VICE” style “a more genuine way of reporting the news. It’s so much more pleasurable as a correspondent to be able to have your presentation be natural. I think our viewers really expect that from us. They want authenticity. They want honesty. They want to experience what we are experiencing, feel what we are feeling, so that is a much easier way of reporting on these stories around the world.”
Still, such efforts can be dangerous, and executive producer Subrata De insists safety always is a “VICE” consideration. “We run a very rigorous sort of risk assessment for every assignment that we do,” she explains, “and our security team within Vice has become leaders for journalists everywhere in terms of training, first aid, security assessments. We take it very seriously, and we do have contingency plans in place for every assignment.
“If you are on the ground seeing things firsthand, expertise, some knowledge and a little bit of guts will tell you that you see these things coming,” notes De. “For our teams, they are there all the time. They really spend very little time in the office. They are always in the field. And their sourcing’s amazing.”