How VICE comes up with their weird articles: Q&A with Julian Morgans – VICE AU editor
VICE magazine is known for their bizarre stories, often on taboo topics like crime, sex, and drugs.
If you visit their website or Facebook page, you’ll find fascinating stories such as ‘Meeting The 24/7 Sex Slaves Inspired By a Sci-Fi Series’ or helpful articles, like ‘Everything You Need To Know About Ketamine’
Readers are often left wondering where the author comes up with those weird story ideas and topics.
Luckily, Julian Morgans – editor of VICE AU, sits down to explain how and why these stories form.
Q: First of all, why all the weird stuff?
A: “Well, it’s what the magazine is about. The name VICE represents vices, sex, drugs – taboo sort of stuff like that. It’s our niche and it makes us who we are.”
Q: So how do you come up with all these weird stories?
A: “I have a few different ways I’ve come across story ideas. Usually i’ll just think of the strangest thing I can and Google it, and most of the time something comes up.”
“Sometimes I’ll have an idea and I’ll do some research on it and find something else from that. For example a friend of mine is an artist, and they tell me that they paint better when they’re high, and it makes them more creative. I was doing some research on that and found this guy that collects tabs of LSD and frames them. His house is just filled with thousands of framed tabs of LSD. So I went to San Francisco to interview him and wrote a story on that.”
“Other than that, sometimes I’ll overhear someone, at like a bar, telling an interesting story and the bartender will be like ‘shut up you’re crazy’ and I’m like no, no keep going I wanna hear what he’s talking about, so thats another way. Basically there’s no one way to skin a cat.”
Q: What’s the strangest story you’ve written?
A: “We went to do a story on this guy in New Zealand who was like, the pioneer of synthetic drugs over there. So we we showed up to his house in New Zealand which was this huge mansion basically with a drug lab. He agreed to do the story but only if we helped him make this strange steampunk inspired music video, because he was really into the whole rock star thing. That’s plenty other weird stories like that but this one is definitely near the top.”
Q: Does VICE have a particular political leaning? Does it influence what kind of articles get published?
A: “A lot of commenters, especially on Facebook and social media, like to label us as as sort of left-wing, which isn’t accurate at all. In fact some of the stuff we publish is just straight up offensive. An example I remember is one of the stories on Viceland which was called ‘The day I joined the KKK was super fucking gay.’”
“We don’t have a particular agenda or political leaning that influences what we publish, we’ve just always been a kind of out-there magazine.”