Inside Television: Traditionalists get a bit of bad news with the launch of VICE News

 

I like my TV news like I like my morning eggs; sunny side up, before 8am, and delivered by a handsome Oxbridge graduate. Unfortunately for me, the traditional model received a blow this week with the launch of VICE News, a new video-driven online channel with 35 foreign bureaus worldwide and a potential audience of 129 million 16-34 year olds.

What does that mean? It means that right now, somewhere in Caracas and Crimea, as the old guard correspondents compare war stories at the hotel bar, there’s a new kid elbowing his/her way up to the press line. Like a real-life Zoe Barnes, the fast-rising young reporter in House of Cards, VICE News presenters need only an internet connection to get their story out to the world.

In the US, media commentators are growing cautiously excited. As The New Yorker's Lizzie Widdicombe writes, “It’s hard not to be impressed by VICE’s vitality.” In Britain, VICE News enters a different climate. In contrast to the likes of MSNBC and Fox News, British broadcast news has largely held on to the goal of objective journalism. The BBC, ITN, Channel 4 and Sky might be staffed entirely by stuffy old farts in ill-fitting suits, but they’re our stuffy old farts and we like them. More to the point, we trust them to deliver the news free from bias.

If this kind of assumed objectivity is the sacred cow that VICE most wants to slaughter, then maybe we should be offering it up for the kill. In place of ‘authoritiative’ we could have provocative, immersive reporting which avoids the creeping inanity of the 24-hour news cycle. Recent VICE videos include dispatches from Syria, Russia, Venezuela and, most controversially, exclusive access to Kim Jung-un in North Korea via former Celebrity Big Brother contestant Dennis Rodman. Much like mainstream media, VICE isn’t telling the full story. The difference is that VICE isn’t pretending to.

That doesn’t mean that all those who refuse to hail VICE as the savior of on-the-ground reportage can be dismissed as ‘legacy media’ luddites. On last count the channel still included too many presenters who seem plucked from Dalston and plonked in Darfur with barely enough time to change their skinny jeans, let alone develop insight worth sharing. TV news reporting doesn’t need any more privileged Westerners - even the young ones. It needs voices with a real connection to the issue and a perspective that’s truly alternative.

So, lest all the Zoe Barnes wannabes forget how their hero ended up, here’s the real story: She lost her integrity, became the stooge of the corrupt and powerful, and ultimately got thrown under the bus (train) by the very establishment she thought she was out-smarting. The real danger presented by VICE News is not a change that’s too radical, but a change that’s not radical enough.

Dogs on TV (140)

They say every dog has his day, and this week it seemed that all the Dog Days had come at once. Television opportunities for up-and-coming canine talent have never been so plentiful. Not only did Crufts 2014 start its daily broadcasts on Thursday, but Top Dog, the show where dogs and their celebrity owners compete in a variety of pointless challenges continued on BBC2 to surprisingly positive reviews. Sky Arts even got in on the act, announcing a new drama called The Dog Thrower featuring Friends star Matthew Perry and Independent columnist Tim Key. Key stars as a nervous young man who attempts to become popular by throwing his pet in the air. Or should I say ‘co-stars’. The real star, of course, will be whichever four-legged thesp bags the role of the dog missile.

CATCH UP

37 Days, iPlayer

This three-part miniseries about the diplomatic crisis the run up to WW1 might not be the BBC’s centenary season flagship, but it’s terrifically well-written. The dialogue does an excellent job of conveying the prevalent political mood. If that doesn’t grab you, there’s also a forest of extraordinary mustaches to marvel at.

Crufts, 4OD

For the fifth year running, More4 are providing live coverage of the world’s biggest dog event, presented by Liza Tarbuck and Clare Balding. Don’t worry if you’re more of a cat person. As anyone who’s seen the Christopher Guest mocumentary Best in Show, or Channel 4’s recent Doggy Styling will know, these shows are really all about the people.

Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle: Shilbottle, iPlayer

Stewart Lee’s musings on modern life are often bitter, but always brilliant. This first episode of the third season takes on internet porn, creative urges and middle class guilt. Watch out for Chris Morris replacing Armando Iannucci as ‘the hostile interrogator’. It’s his first time in front of a TV camera since The IT Crowd in 2008

Revolution in Ukraine: Dispatch from the Presidential Palace, VICE News

When President Yanukovych’s Ukraine estate was recently opened up to the public, the VICE News team made sure they were first in line to get a look. This 6-minute-film is a good example of their news model; on-the-ground foreign reporting, packaged to suit MTV viewers. In VICE news editor Henry Langston’s own words, “It’s like a dictators episode of Cribs”.

Arts and Entertainment
Art on their sleeves: before downloads and streaming, enthusiasts used to flick through racks of albums in their local record shops
musicFor Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Arts and Entertainment
Serial suspect: the property heir charged with first-degree murder, Robert Durst
TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Igarashi in her

Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression

Arts and Entertainment
Could Ed Sheeran conquer the Seven Kingdoms? He could easily pass for a Greyjoy like Alfie Allen's character (right)

tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros

Arts and Entertainment
Beyonce, Boris Johnson, Putin, Nigel Farage, Russell Brand and Andy Murray all get the Spitting Image treatment from Newzoids
tvReview: The sketches need to be very short and very sharp as puppets are not intrinsically funny
Arts and Entertainment
Despite the controversy it caused, Mile Cyrus' 'Wrecking Ball' video won multiple awards
musicPoll reveals over 70% of the British public believe sexually explicit music videos should get ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister and Ian Beattie as Meryn Trant in the fifth season of Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment

book review
Arts and Entertainment
It's all in the genes: John Simm working in tandem with David Threlfall in 'Code of a Killer'

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Far Right and Proud: Reggies Yates' Extreme Russia

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West was mobbed in Armenia after jumping into a lake

music
Arts and Entertainment
The show suffers from its own appeal, being so good as to create an appetite in its viewers that is difficult to sate in a ten episode series

Game of Thrones reviewFirst look at season five contains some spoilers
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench and Kevin Spacey on the Red Carpet for 2015's Olivier Awards

Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awards

Theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Proving his metal: Ross Poldark (played by Aidan Turner in the BBC series) epitomises the risk-taking spirit of 18th-century mine owners

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne is reportedly favourite to play Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

film
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars in dystopian action thriller Mad Max: Fury Road

film
Arts and Entertainment
Josh, 22, made his first million from the game MinoMonsters

Grace Dent

Channel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
News
Disgraced Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson
people
Arts and Entertainment
Game face: Zoë Kravitz, Bruce Greenwood and Ethan Hawke in ‘Good Kill’

film review

Arts and Entertainment
Living like there’s no tomorrow: Jon Hamm as Don Draper in the final season of ‘Mad Men’

TV review

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

    Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

    His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
    'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

    Open letter to David Cameron

    Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
    Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

    You don't say!

    Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
    Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

    So what is Mubi?

    Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
    The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

    The hardest job in theatre?

    How to follow Kevin Spacey
    Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

    Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

    To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
    Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

    'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

    The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
    Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

    This human tragedy has been brewing for years

    EU states can't say they were not warned
    Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

    Women's sportswear

    From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
    Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

    Clinton's clothes

    Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders