Jason Wishnow, who was integral in the creation of the TED video format, interviewed VICE news’ Jason Mojica.
Vice News began as a show on VBS.TV which was VICE’s earliest experiment with online video along with various other shows about skateboarding, food & lifestyle. That lead to big international documentaries around the world. In 2013 they launched VICE news as a stand alone digital platform for news with editorial content, original video series and international documentaries.
VICE dares to go into uncharted waters and Mojica spoke about when they first decided to try and shoot videos both in North Korea and in the Islamic State. "There was this general idea that North Korea would never let us in to film. So, how could we pitch this as a good idea?”
There were rumors that the leader of North Korea enjoyed watching the Chicago Bulls, so one year later they did a basketball diplomacy mission with Dennis Rodman. For the team on site filming, it was a wild experience to film for 12-13 hours in the day, come back to the hotel, and find thousands of articles on Google discussing what they were working on, even though it was quite clear that no one besides the team on site had any information at all about the project.
When it came to filming in the Islamic State, Wishnow was curious as to how they were able to get people to agree to let them come film. Simply put, Mojica stated, “We asked.” He went on to explain that there are a lot of things that are dangerous, look dangerous, seem dangerous, but the most important part for VICE, is to focus on the humanity of those situations, really tell the human stories and really try and show what a place is like, and to demonstrate that there is humor in those situations.
Humor is one of the ways people cope in challenging times. You often don’t see it on news because they feel that is not the time or place for jokes. But, people are there making jokes, and it’s important to capture that humanity that still survives even in dark times.
Similar to brining humanity to these places that seem so distant to our own everyday lives, Wishnow at TED took complex lectures that seemed so abstract and making them entertaining in a way that told human stories that anyone could connect to. In the end, both Jason’s have innovated the video format in a way that allows the viewer to learn something that they didn’t know about, and didn’t know that they could care about, until now.