Alternative news coverage is like punk rock

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by Kate Russell

There is an alternative to mainstream news coverage and it’s profitable, Vice UK editor-in-chief Alex Miller told Journalism Week.
He told students that Vice magazine and website had a long reputation of covering controversial stories, but it was becoming increasingly well-respected as a legitimate source of news told in an alternative way.
Mr Miller said: “It’s not cool to be stupid any more. It’s cool to be clever. Vice has grown up.”

He joined Vice in 2008 having been a music writer and section editor at the NME.
Journalism aimed at the youth market had become a joke, he said, reading as an example a feature about a young model who had done
“literally nothing”.
He added: “It’s crazy, crazy lies thrown together just because some PR has pushed it down their throat.”
Vice covered important news stories but in a different way, he said, which had its advantages. He talked about the coverage of the student riots of 2011, where Vice reported from within the ‘kettled’ areas because they simply didn’t have the press passes to get out.
He said: “It made our stories more honest, more real.”
Speaking on its philosophy, Mr Miller referred to Vice’s punk lineage: “In the way that you get ‘here’s three chords, go make a song’, we say
‘here’s a camera, go make a film.’”
As to being profitable, Vice’s model involved seeking out creative opportunities for funding. It had also embraced the benefits of
technology, with the magazine comprising just two per cent of output.
“We try to be creative about the ways we make money,” he said. “We started as a free magazine, so we haven’t felt the choke.”

Watch Kate Russell’s interview with Mr Miller, talking about Vice’s coverage of Syria, the London riots and his proudest moments.

To watch the video of Mr Miller’s entire talk, click here.


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