New Animated Vice Series Tells Journalist’s Story Behind The Story

Vice's Correspondent Confidential

A still from Vice’s new series.

When multimedia journalist Carrie Ching was at the UC, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, she realized that the story she ended up writing was never the whole story and sometimes not even the most interesting part.

“The crazy experience is what happened to me on the way to reporting,” she said.

In her 14 years in the industry, Ms. Ching heard similar tales from other journalists that confirmed that often, the best part of a story is the one that happens behind the scenes of an article.

In May, Ms. Ching drew on that realization, and her six years leading digital storytelling projects at the Center for Investigative Reporting, to pitch Vice on a Web series. After meeting with Vice’s chief creative officer, Eddy Moretti, Ms. Ching said, the show got picked up.

Today, Vice Media launched Ms. Ching’s animated six-part series called Correspondent Confidential that tells journalists’ personal stories that they encountered while reporting.

“It’s a unique take on getting inside the journalists’ stories in a way we never experienced before,” said Jim Czarnecki, Vice’s executive producer. “Carrie came up with concept that had a modern way of telling a story, and we embraced it immediately in the first meeting. Eddy championed it.”

The episodes, which come out every month, are narrated by different journalists and animated by different illustrators, which is a way to depict sometimes controversial events. In the first installment, photojournalist Mimi Chakarova talks about going undercover in brothels in Turkey and Dubai to cover sex trafficking.

The style is reminiscent of The New York Times‘s new animated “Modern Love” column, but Ms. Ching said she was inspired by Ira Glass’s This American Life and the changing way that people interact with news stories.

“We are at a point where information is consumed in a more intimate way,” Ms. Ching said, explaining that people now have a one-on-one relationship with news that they read on devices, often held close to their faces while wearing headphones.

“It’s transparent in its storytelling,” Mr. Czarnecki said. “We know who’s telling the story, and that’s part of the viewer’s experience.”