Thursday, November 20, 2008

Vice – A Magazine That Is Not Dull

I am hooked on Vice. Not the sort of vice that Jacqui Smith’s getting all hot under the two-piece about – “Excuse me, Madam Prostitute, before we get down to business can I establish whether you have been illegally trafficked?” – but the international style magazine and its companion website.
I spend a lot of time both in the classroom and the newsroom trying to get people to think differently and produce compelling content that is going to challenge the supposed norms of journalism.
Echoing what Daily Mail editor-in-chief Paul Dacre told the Society of Editors: “Dull doesn’t sell newspapers. Boring doesn’t pay the mortgage,” the first thing I get would-be journalists to write in the corner of every piece of copy is DBD – Don’t Be Dull – which sits there as a reminder.
Enter Vice, which seems to have cracked the dull code. It calls itself ‘the Coolest Magazine in the World’ and I don’t think I want to argue with that. It has:
* Serious stories that would embarrass any supposed investigative newspaper like ‘Inside the Violent Lives of Liverpool’s 11-Year-Olds’ and ‘Bloodthirsty Child Soldiers Tag Liberia’
* Difficult to get stories like ‘A Sperm Donor Who Has 46 Kids’ and its natural follow-up ‘A Guy Who Was a Test-Tube Baby’
* In-depth interviews with creative inspirations like Ian Hislop, Mike Leigh
*Stories you just have to look at like ‘A 74-Year-Old Japanese Porn Star’ and ‘People Who Just Had Sex With Each Other a Couple of Minutes Ago’
The headlines are straight-up what it says on the tin (albeit with that annoying US-style of Unnecessary Caps) and everything is written in a question and answer format, which I normally decry as lazy journalism, but here it just seems to sort of work.
And commercially it seems to work, too. There are swanky ads from household names like Ben Sherman, Levi’s, Dr Martens, Oakley, Red Bull, Sony and Nissan. Their media kit quotes £4,000 per page for ads just in the UK edition and a worldwide circulation of nearly a million.
The website not only captures the spirit of the print magazine but moves it on using the medium to best advantage. Check out DOs and DON’Ts, a section of reader-submitted pictures with a caption. The subsequent comments are not for the faint-hearted, but in an age where publishers are striving to engage better with their audience they must be doing something right.
And bang up to date, welcome to the November ‘No Photos’ issue. As they explain: “If you’ve gotten your hands on a print copy of the magazine, you know it’s a sumptuously printed tome containing the drawerly works of 35 of our favourite drawers with nary a photo to be found.” So how’s that for innovation? Vice rules!

Vice 'Table of Contents'

2 comments:

  1. Anonymous11:17 AM

    I have a new one for you - it's called +1 (plus one) it is also a free publication funded by advertising and the reviews in it on books and cinema are really good. You can find it in 'Spine' that is a skate shop located in the Hop Market.

    Nell

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete