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VICE correspondent gives UNC students sneak peek at next season

On Wednesday, audiences in Carroll Hall saw and discussed what VICE calls "the absurdity of the modern condition." 

VICE correspondent Isobel Yeung and representatives from HBO premiered two episodes from the upcoming fourth season of VICE for UNC students. 

HBO student ambassadors ushered in a long line of fans, handed out copies of VICE magazine and pointed the way to catered platters of Chick-Fil-A.  

Stuart Castillo, UNC student and HBO student representative, said the event was to promote the HBO streaming service. 

“Our goal is to spread the brand and to let people in student housing know that they have free HBO GO, which has content like VICE,” said Castillo. “We are trying to do more events like this, too.”

The event was on a first-come, first-served basis: by the time the doors opened, the line stretched into the basement stairwell of Carroll Hall. 

UNC student Andrea Orengo attended the premier and said she admires the quality of reporting from previous seasons of VICE. 

“I got an email from my advisor about the premier and decided to come,” she said. “They do a really good job covering climate change. I also like a couple of the pieces they have done on North Korea.”

VICE began as an alternative news magazine and has expanded to become a media company that includes a record label and publishing house. It also boasts a wildly successful news division that has had a huge success producing in-depth, offbeat documentaries. The VICE YouTube channel has racked up millions of views covering issues ranging from the rise of the Islamic State group to bodybuilders in Iceland.  

The first episode shown, which was from season four, was a report on blindness research and included a segment where Yeung followed a doctor who cured hundreds of patients with cataracts in a single afternoon. 

“When they asked about the blindness piece, I jumped at it since most of our content isn’t exactly lighthearted,” Yeung said. 

During a Q&A panel after the premier, Yeung discussed life on the road as a correspondent and the difficulties of tackling tragic or emotional stories.

Recalling a piece from season three of VICE where she had gone to Uganda to cover violence against the LGBT community, Yeung said it was difficult to remain poised and professional when the content is overwhelming.

“It is important to be able to put up a barrier between you and your story, which I inherently suck at," she said.

The upcoming season includes reports on Boko Haram, the conflict in Yemen and new scientific breakthroughs for editing the genes of human embryos. Yeung will appear alongside a cast of other correspondents. 

Professor Laura Ruel, who facilitated the Q&A, said VICE has a unique style.

“The program has a humanistic form of interviewing," she said. 

"There is no pretentiousness or any authoritative tone in the interviews. It is very warm and very genuine.”

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