Vice News (stylized as VICE News) is Vice Media, Inc.'s current affairs channel, producing daily documentary essays and video through its website and YouTube channel. It promotes itself on its coverage of "under-reported stories". Vice News was created in December 2013 and is based in New York City, though it has bureaux worldwide.
Before Vice News was founded, Vice published news documentaries and news reports from around the world through its YouTube channel alongside other programs. Vice had reported on events such as crime in Venezuela, the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, protests in Turkey, the North Korean regime, and the Syrian Civil War through their own YouTube channel and website. After the creation of Vice News as a separate division, its reporting greatly increased with worldwide coverage starting immediately with videos published on YouTube and articles on its website daily.
December 2013, Vice Media expanded its international news division into an independent division dedicated to news exclusively and created Vice News. Vice Media put $50 million into its news division, setting up 34 bureaus worldwide and drawing praise for its in-depth coverage of international news. Vice News has primarily targeted a younger audience comprised predominantly of millennials, the same audience to which its parent company appeals.
In October 2015 Vice hired Josh Tyrangiel to run a daily Vice News show for HBO. Tyrangiel had recently left Bloomberg, where he was reported to be “a divisive figure who was both admired and despised during his six years there.” Tyrangiel named Ryan McCarthy, formerly an assistant editor of The New York Times, as editor-in-chief of Vice News.
In May 2016, it was announced that Tyrangiel had also been given control of the weekly Vice on HBO show as well as Vice News. As the announcement was made, Tyrangiel promptly laid off much of the news staff. In an interview given the previous week, Vice Media founder Shane Smith called Tyrangiel “a murderer,” foretelling a “bloodbath” in digital media.
On May 24, 2016, a change in leadership at Vice News resulted in the laying off of some 20 editorial and production staff members. That June, Tyrangiel touted various new hires he had brought aboard as part of his team.
In December 2016, it was announced that Vice News had entered into a partnership with The Guardian newspaper that will include Guardian journalists working at Vice's offices in East London and contributing to the two HBO television programs currently on the air. It will also include allowing The Guardian access to Vice’s video production skills with content distributed to its millennial-skewed global audience.
Vice News had more than 100 members of its reporting and editorial staff in 35 bureaux around the world including New York City, Toronto, London, Berlin, Mexico City, São Paulo, Los Angeles, Istanbul, Moscow, Beijing, and Kabul. On April 21, 2014, while covering the conflict in Ukraine, Simon Ostrovsky, a Vice News reporter was kidnapped by pro-Russian militia and held for three days until being released in Sloviansk.
Since its creation, Vice News has covered emerging events and widespread issues around the world. Every day it publishes a daily news capsule called "News Beyond the Headlines" where it briefly covers four daily stories which did not receive much coverage by other mainstream news outlets but it still considers important. It also publishes daily articles on its website on a variety of world current events, along with maintaining a Vice News Wire where it displays wire reports from around the world.
It has several prominent past and ongoing documentary series including: Russian military intervention in Ukraine; civil war in Iraq; the Israeli–Palestinian conflict; the Western Sahara conflict; the struggles of Afghan interpreters working for the US military in acquiring visas; the prison crisis in the US at Salinas Valley State Prison; protests against the world cup in Brazil; Venezuelan anti-government protests; expansion of the Islamic State; protests in Ferguson, Missouri; the Syrian Civil War; the militarization of America's police forces and Central American refugees fleeing street gangs borne in American prisons to cross the American border; Global Warming and the evidence of the melting of Antarctica's glaciers; and the build-up of military forces of Russia with Scandinavians assisted by the American military.
The Vice News YouTube page has 2.6 million subscribers as well as more than 1.5 billion views in total. and in August 2014, was described by The Guardian as one of the fastest growing channels on YouTube.
Lara Pendergast, deputy online editor at the UK magazine The Spectator argues that Vice News gets its strength and popularity by getting younger audiences to become more and more interested about international news in a way that traditional media has not. "Its videos may fail every rule in the BBC impartiality book, but they are brilliantly edited and, often, utterly compelling. Vice News has found young, fearless foreign correspondents to serve a youthful audience who are bored stiff by traditional outlets but are quite prepared to watch videos on their mobile phones."
"Vice's brand image marketing as an edgy, hip outlet have helped drive its popularity with young people", says media critic Charles Johnson. "Mainstream media is not trusted by a lot of people, and rightly so, so they [Vice] step in and fill in", he says. "People see a sense of fun behind it. Jon Stewart is very popular, but he's an entertainer. Vice is something similar."
Rick Edmonds, media and business analyst at the Poynter Institute, critiques that Vice News’ reportings are "raw and tasteless sometimes, on topics where traditional news media look to provide balance, Vice often offers journalism akin to personal essays." Other critiques mention that their work is more affiliated with entertainment rather than hard-hitting news.
In a 2013 opinion piece for U.S. News and World Report, editor of the New York-based Foreign Policy Association Robert Nolan, stated that Vice’s North Korea reporting was "more Jackass TV series than journalism".