Vice has led the way in popularizing mini documentaries on the Web in recent years, with reporters acting as edgy chaperones who lead viewers through foreign locales and situations. Many of its offerings focus on hard news topics, from unrest in Ferguson, MO, to the civil war in Ukraine. But mainstream news organizations have largely struggled with how to cover hard news through digital video, a medium that boasts a growing advertising market. None have been able to consistently combine Vice’s watchability with their old-school journalistic sensibilities.
But in recent months two industry giants, the Times and CNN, have taken steps toward finding that balance—and they’ve done so by producing video stories from reporters’ perspectives.