With Italian debut, VICE News continues expansion abroad

VICE News, the journalism outfit within VICE Media's sprawling international empire, just added another outpost to its growing list of foreign editions.

VICE News Italy, which launches today, is the latest worldwide expansion of VICE News, a fledgling outfit known for its immersive reporting in hazardous regions of the world. With its push into Italy, VICE News strengthens its foothold in Europe, where it already maintains sites dedicated to covering the United Kingdom, Spain and France.

It's the seventh site from VICE News, which launched in March 2014 as the de facto hub for the journalistic ambitions of its parent company. VICE Media, which comprises VICE News, VICE Magazine and several verticals dedicated to specific coverage areas, continues to grow by dint of revenues and an influx of capital from investors such as A&E Networks.

Today's launch ushers in a period of expansion for VICE News, which plans to roll out similar outposts in the Netherlands, Germany, Brazil and Australia before the end of the year, said VICE News Editor-in-Chief Jason Mojica.

"This is us taking the steps to become the global news organization that we've always wanted to be," Mojica said. "While we're based here in Brooklyn, we've never seen ourselves as an American news organization."

Also on Monday, VICE News announced the hiring of Latin America Bureau Chief Jo Tuckman, formerly of The Guardian, and VICE News U.S. Managing Editor Alberto Riva, who was previously senior world news editor at International Business Times. Both have a bent for international news, Mojica says, and fit into the company's strategy of hiring journalists who are conscious of global reportage.

There was an odd sort of symmetry to Monday's launch, with VICE News announcing an international expansion within hours of the McClatchy company announcing its intent to shutter its foreign bureaus.

In its push to reach more international readers, VICE News joins a growing list of news organizations who are looking to other countries as a source of expanded readership and untapped ad revenue. The New York Times and BuzzFeed have both signaled their intent to step up investments outside the U.S. and publish journalism in languages other than English in recent months.

The advantage to having international operations is threefold for VICE News, Mojica said. English-language expansions in countries such as Australia and the United Kingdom allow the outlet to operate for 24 hours, with staffers in one country taking the reins while the others sleep. Each edition can also cultivate local sources by writing primarily for the country where it's based. And when those sources bear fruit, international outposts can exchange those stories and translate them into multiple languages for maximum exposure.

"These aren't outposts for American journalists to go work out of," Mojica said. "They are local teams who know the lay of the land and are surfacing true enterprise journalism and stories that are generally unreported in mainstream media."

Mojica noted that although VICE News is relatively new, international journalism has been an intrinsic part of the company since its inception. VICE Magazine, founded by CEO Shane Smith in 1994, debuted in Canada, and the company ventured into countries including Liberia and North Korea before VICE News got off the ground.

"It's so interwoven in the company's DNA," Mojica said. "It's what VICE has always been."

Correction: A previous version of this story cited two international projects ostensibly undertaken by VICE News. In fact, they were published by VICE.com.

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    Benjamin Mullin

    Benjamin Mullin is the managing editor of Poynter.org. He previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow, covering journalism innovation, business practices and ethics.


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