Success From Scratch

 

Success From Scratch -- Vice Media

We all remember the most bizarre headline of the year: Dennis Rodman watches basketball and dines with Kim Jung Un.

It was a huge, internationally recognized publicity stunt.

But a lot of people ignored who exactly set the meeting up.

That was Vice Media, a multimedia company based out of Brooklyn.

One correspondent said:

“Dinner was an epic feast. Felt like about ten courses in total. I’d say the winners were the smoked turkey and sushi, though we had the Pyongyang cold noodles earlier in the trip and that’s been the runaway favorite so far.”

Vice received a lot of criticism for the visit, bragging about the food while millions starve in North Korea. But by all other measures, the visit was a success.

Vice correspondents were the only Westerners to ever meet Kim Jung Un. The hype was built for their TV series.

So how did they get to this point? And what does it mean for the future of journalism?

According to NPR, In its nearly 20 years, Vice Media has gone from a small Canadian magazine to figuring out the holy grail of media: how to capture an international audience of aloof 18- to 24-year-olds.

In the office's edit rooms, young producers work on everything from a food series, to a film about Somali pirates, to interviews about electronic dance music.

These projects violate all the rules of what's supposed to make money on the Web. Articles can approach New Yorker length. Videos can last an hour, covering topics both serious and salacious. They attract millions of views, as do the ads that accompany each video.

Vice's secret sauce has attracted big-name investors like Tom Freston, who ran old-media conglomerate Viacom after helping found MTV in the '80s. He has pushed Vice to expand to reach urban youth around the world.

Vice now employs 1,000 people across 34 countries, producing dozens of stories and videos a day. More at NPR News

Hear Bill tell the story of Vice Media.

 

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