Every weeknight this past week in the 7:30pm timeslot HBO debuted its new news programming. VICE Media has turned its news from around the world into a newscast unlike many others, though it is not anything amazingly earthshaking. What it is though is interesting, diverse and informative.
Here is a look at some of the topics broached in its first week.
The information assembled nightly utilizes a number of techniques to get the news told. There are graphs, charts and simple animations to accompany any topic or as a stand-alone new item. News of the merger of two major beer companies, for example, solely used animation to inform us. Each installment begins with a rundown of the top features of the broadcast and then states…But First This… and headlines stories get fleshed out for s few minutes. Each noted feature usually has a VICE correspondent on camera reporting on such issues as the hot spot Presidential Campaign HQ for each candidate in Florida and even those features are broken up by smaller segments. Below is a quick breakdown of the main stories in the debut week.
Monday 10.10 – Michael Moynihan joins conservative commentator Glenn Beck during the second presidential debate for an exclusive look at the candidates’ responses and campaign strategies. In the wake of the Wells Fargo scandal, a former branch manager reveals that he warned of unethical behavior in 2006.
Tuesday 10.11 – Former House Speaker John Boehner talks to VICE founder Shane Smith about the raucous race for president and the future of politics. Manila photographer Dondi Tawatao documents the brutal killings happening under Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-drug campaign. A look at each presidential candidate’s ground game in Florida’s most important swing county.
Wednesday 10.12 – The mayor of Rutland, Vermont faces backlash for proposing that the city resettle refugees. Plus, a portrait of 25-year-old startup worker Nicolas Lulli’s life moving between WeWork and WeLive.
Thursday 10.13 – VICE interviews Gavin Grimm, a transgender student whose fight to use his high school’s bathroom may soon be decided by the Supreme Court. In the last three days, heavy fighting has broken out in the Promzone, a strategic area in the Ukraine conflict–VICE visits the frontlines.
Friday 10.14 – Before a voter casts a ballot, hundreds of small decisions have been made that determine where, when and how that vote will be cast. VICE visits a refugee camp outside Kabul full of families seeking security, 15 years after the US invasion. Uber-troll Milo Yiannopoulos has made a name for himself by attacking public figures on Twitter.
The cool thing about this newscast is that online viewing offers interactive connections to flesh out any story as detailed as you want. And it is a nice change to have it all presented, as they proudly advertise, with no news reader or visible anchor. The headlines and shorter segments are all done in voice-over by a female voice very gentle but firm to the ears. She has yet to be identified or seen. Again, by all appearances it isn’t anything revolutionary, but it is a unique way to handle the news. Millennials just might dig it. One other feature not lost just because it is on HBO, is the potential to go Live whenever necessary. Many of the stories covered this week we such wrapped up earlier in the day, so they are on the ground and can roll with the punches to get current information out there. HBOWatch will not, of course, review this ongoing programming, the first daily program in HBO’s history, because it is a news broadcast. News presented in an interesting way that HBO hopes will supplement the way you get your news nowadays. Check it out for yourself weeknights at 7:30pm on HBO, HBOGo & HBONow.