The global media brand VICE continues to grow, with a new bureau in Miami that will serve the growing Hispanic market in the United States and beyond. In addition to helping create new content, Miami will serve as a conduit for news already coming north out of VICE’s offices in Brazil, Colombia and Mexico.
Dan Perry, VICE’s managing director of pan-regional Latin America, has coordinated the setup and recent launch of the new bureau, which is currently filling positions. He says Miami, with its strategic location, is a perfect link for information traveling between Latin America and the U.S.
“This isn’t about saying ‘here’s content in Spanish,’ because that’s missing the point,” Perry told IJNet from VICE’s office in Miami. “This is about creating nuanced cultural stories for a certain audience.”
The youth-focused VICE brand was started in Montreal in 1994 as a punk magazine. In 1999, it moved its headquarters to New York City and expanded internationally. VICE, now based in Brooklyn, has over 30 offices around the world, providing news and content related to music, fashion, travel, food, tech and sports to a diverse audience.
According to the most recent U.S. Census data from 2013, some 17 percent of the U.S. population is now Hispanic (meaning of Latin American origin). So VICE, naturally, wants to give that part of its young audience better and more relevant information. And in doing so, it’s also improving the way VICE is reflecting youth culture as a whole, Perry says.
“VICE has grown up into a media company of this generation, so we’re now reflecting that generation in our content,” he says. “Latin America has a lot of stories and we need to be producing more of them. And now we’ll have the talent here and throughout the region to do it.”
Perry says he’s been looking at Miami as a potential new home for VICE for about three years. The tropical U.S. city is inextricably linked to goings-on in Central and South America; boom and bust cycles across the region affect Miami’s tourism dollars, foreign investment and population numbers. Plus, companies including Facebook, Twitter and Viacom have set up shop in Miami in recent years.
And yet, there’s still not a substantial digital media space in Miami. The Miami bureau really represents “a huge digital opportunity,” he says.
The new VICE offices are located in Miami’s hip, artsy Wynwood neighborhood. The open space is filled with large work tables, a lofted meeting room, leather couches and more.
Out of the bureau, VICE will continue working with its diverse pool of clients, including many of the world’s Fortune 500 companies, providing creative solutions, branded content, research, events and more.
Though the Miami office is still mostly unstaffed, Perry hopes to have production teams set up by January or February. For its written content, the office will rely mainly on freelancers from across the region.
Most importantly, Perry says setting up a successful bureau in a new place -- especially a wide open market like Miami -- really hinges on getting involved in the fabric of the city and investing in its future. For instance, despite being a global bureau, VICE Miami plans to hire a large portion of its 50 new employees from people already living and working in the city.
“You have to be there for everything happening -- and want to make something of the city,” he says. “You have to go out a lot, go to a lot of events. Build yourself into the city and become part of it.”
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