Over 150 students gathered last week to watch a pre-screening of HBO’s Emmy award winning documentary series, “VICE” produced in partnership with the VICE Media Network. Brought to students through the collaboration of the Stern Tisch Entertainment Business Association and HBO, the event included pre-screenings of two exclusive “VICE” segments and a Q&A with investigative journalist and VICE Media correspondent Isobel Yeung and executive producer Tim Clancy. Both segments, “Meathooked” and “Beating Blindness,” were covered by Yeung, with whom WSN spoke after the event.
“Meathooked” is an investigative report of the global meat industry which, as Yeung explained during the Q&A, is clearly a well-worn topic but one that she felt she could report from a different perspective. The story took her and her team all the way to Brazil where viewers saw very shocking footage of the slaughtering of cows, from the snapping of necks to the skinning and processing of parts. This segment did not leave out anything that makes audiences squeamish. It continued with information about the realities of our out of control meat consumption, unsustainable farming methods and outlook for our future.
“Beating Blindness” covered advancements in technology to cure and improve blindness. In the Q&A, Yeung acknowledged that this piece was a bit refreshing since many issues “VICE” covers are quite dark — even dangerous — while this one was more optimistic. It principally followed the story of one man’s emotional journey as the subject of a new eye technology — or as he called it, “the iPhone 1 of bionic eyes.” The segment also covered the touching experience Yeung had in Africa watching many impoverished people be cured of blindness through a simple cataracts surgery, as well as a woman’s sad story of overwhelming confusion after gaining sight.
“The topics that get the most attraction and feedback are human issues,” Yeung said. “Every day when I’m out in the field I
The following Q&A with Isobel Yeung and Tim Clancy allowed students to ask questions about their experiences working for “VICE,” the segments from the screening and the process of creating the series. They expressed that their hope is to pose questions for the viewer, not to answer them. They explained that in a culture in which investigative journalism is in decline, VICE still manages to cover unique issues by trusting that viewers share their interests.
“More often than not, if a topic is trending, it’s all the more reason for us to not tackle it,” Yeung said.
Yeung said that working for Vice is a journalistic experience like no other.
“It’s one of the only places where you can get a fully immersive journalism experience,” Yeung said. “I travel the world and experience things I never thought I would get to. I’m so grateful.”
“VICE” airs Fridays at 11 p.m. on HBO and HBOGo.
A version of this article appeared in the March 7th print edition. Email Adrienne Messina at [email protected]