Today the Vice Media empire introduced Vice News on YouTube and vicenews.com "for young people everywhere," according to the surprisingly earnest press release. It's meant, Vice says, to "fill a void left by mainstream media and news aggregation websites struggling to engage youth audiences and offer high-quality compelling digital programming."
Speaking of surprisingly earnest, here, watch today's edition of the Vice News Capsule, "a daily roundup that looks beyond the headlines." Then scroll down for more thoughts.
I'll note that when I showed this clip to a (blunt, delightfully cynical) colleague, his reaction was "Very un-Vice. Where's the segment on amputee hookers in Baghdad?"
Yeah, good question. Vice, whose globe-trotting style of journalism is typically so in-your-face gonzo that it's inspired an often wryly hilarious parody Twitter account, @Vice_Is_Hip, so far seems intent on building Vice News into something less predictably outre -- and more in the leagues of, say, the BBC World Service.
Per today's announcement:
"With 35 foreign bureaus, a vast network of post-production facilities and over 4,000 contributors, VICE has spent the last three years traversing the globe to bring its audience the underreported stories they care about most. VICE has interviewed homeless children living in Bogota's sewers, embedded with Nigerian oil pirates, reported from within North Korea and met Kim Jong-un, and produced extensive coverage of Afghanistan's child suicide bombers ... Currently, VICE News is on the ground in Crimea and Caracas."
Although Vice describes YouTube as "the flagship" of its video plan, the company says it also intends to show up across all sorts of other Google properties, even Maps and Google+. So when it comes to serious news for "young people everywhere," Vice has the "everywhere" part down. Now it just needs to convince droves of "young people" that this is the sort of news they can't get elsewhere.
Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" columnist for Advertising Age. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.