Vice News Editor-in-Chief Jason Mojica: ‘Know your audience, but be yourself.’

“Don’t try to reverse engineer your work to an imagined audience,” says Jason Mojica, Editor-in-Chief of Vice News, emphasising that it is equally important to know your audience as it is to be yourself.

by WAN-IFRA Staff | October 24, 2015

True to form, Vice Media’s presentation at this year’s WAN-IFRA LATAM gathering was nothing short of the sensory assault the public has come to expect from the organisation, leaning heavily on video to show us the variety of universes it engages.

Vice’s explosive growth in the face of ongoing tumult in global media has earned it increasing attention from its peers, its audience and newsmakers. With so much information to digest, distilling a single piece of advice to take away from Vice’s experience is no small task, which is why we asked Mojica to do it for us.

More broadly, he attributes Vice’s success to its platform-agnostic approach and its focus on quality of content, adding that covering stories that matter to its audience has been part of its DNA since its founding in Montreal in 1994 as a publication originally devoted to sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.

Its mission today is to be the leading video news channel globally, offering stories unavailable anywhere else and with a different perspective using a language more accessible to younger audiences.

“Our biggest challenge is staying connected to our audience. So far, we’ve managed to be wildly innovative and experimental, not risk averse, while growing the company,” Mojica told us. “Maintaining that is our biggest challenge.”

Vice’s approach is not without its risks. As the conflict in the Ukraine escalated, Vice reporter Simon Ostrovsky was detained by authorities. He also reminded us that Vice reporter Mohammed Ismael Rasool is still currently imprisoned in Turkey, which he considers Vice’s biggest crisis to date.

Mojica closed his presentation emphasising content quality above all else, and pointed out that Vice’s success was achieved organically over 21 years and was helped by a unique sequence of events which enabled Vice to grow. “We try to make it look easy, but it’s not. Video is expensive. It’s not a magic bullet for news media,” he said.

By Ulysses de la Torre




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