Since the turn of the 21st century, media has been in a constant state of evolution. No doubt the integration of the Internet influenced this change, but there is a deeper metamorphosis that has taken place. Networks like CNN, Fox News and MSNBC have isolated people because of their tendency to push opinion, but because of their market share, they have also firmly established themselves as the source for news. In 2014, this might be subject to change.
Without the capital to develop methods for access, news organizations struggle to develop, but two shining examples have stepped forward to provide an alternative to the news companies of the last 20 years. Vice magazine has managed to build popularity since its inception in Montreal during the 1990s. What was once a small Canadian music magazine has developed into a multifaceted media corporation. In 2013, they aired the first season of Vice on HBO, which helped spread their reputation even further. With this show’s success, Vice CEO Shane Smith has decided to expand into mainstream news. Vice News will be broadcast in 18 countries around the world and function the same way a tradition news channel would.
Smith made the statement that this news network will be catered to the “disenfranchised and angry youth who have been largely ignored by major broadcasting companies.” This could help inspire a new wave of mainstream media that is potentially more dedicated to journalistic integrity then others. In fact, Glenn Greenwald (the journalist who released Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks) and a collection of other members of the media community have come together to develop “First Look Media,” a company whose effort will be used to provide credible news stories. With figures like Jeremy Scahill and German documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras on board, the project has sparked tremendous intrigue.
Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay, is funding the company with a reported $250 million. This money will be used to set up offices in San Francisco, New York and Washington. This kind of support is crucial for a network to survive in the modern news market and will give the network a great chance at success.
Media outlets such as Vice News and First Look Media are a breath of fresh air in an industry that has increasingly become a tool of government and business. The integrity of mainstream media has dwindled since the start of the 21st century, but with networks such as these, there may be a chance to maintain the free press, a crucial component of any well functioning democracy.