Vice News Tonight: A Long Way to Go by Ron Steinman
After watching Vice News on HBO over two consecutive nights I wondered how I had wandered into amateur day at a substantial network, meaning HBO, where one assumes it knows better. To be more specific, I saw an organized mess where stories had a decent beginning, a weak middle and often an abrupt ending that left me as a viewer asking what I just watched and why was it worth watching. I say organized because I believe the producers think what they are doing makes sense. But the effort resembles a high school news show or a freshman class in video 101. The story selection was adequate; meaning Vice covered some of the important stories of the day. Most of the pieces were not badly shot but they had little effort at story telling. With reporters who turned me off by poor narrations, accents that were sometimes hard to understand, and no idea of how to construct a piece that made sense, I had trouble staying with the broadcast, but I did. And the graphics– let me tell you about those. For some reason the producers must think they are being creative by using black and white line drawings that are on a kindergarten level, lower thirds that hurt rather than help the piece, interstitial drawing and flashy video editing that was off-putting. The graphic material sometimes hindered my getting value from a story rather than a cheap thrill or the musings of a clever video editor. The reader who provides the connective tissue for the half hour, the setup for the stories, is weak and a non-professional. Yes, my bias is for a strong voice. He is hard to listen to and lacks emotion. Can I be more critical? Probably if I watched more shows, something I plan not to do again. I know that Vice said it wanted to be different from the time-honored thirty-minute news shows on network TV but what I saw had no definition and was neither fish nor fowl, in reality, a hybrid jumble of a news show.