Current TV launches news slot to lure young viewers

US satellite channel Current TV is launching a weekly hour-long slot aimed at showcasing youth-orientated global journalism.

The San Francisco-based channel targets 18 to 24-year olds with a mix of user generated content and professionally produced programming.

Uniquely, one-third of the channel’s programming is supplied by the audience which watches it via the channel’s video-sharing website.

Vanguard Journalism, which will launch on 23 March at 9pm, will explore global issues with the intention of attracting Current TV’s 16 to 34-year-old audience to news and current affairs programming in a weekly 60-minute slot.

Each programme has been made by just one journalist and a producer and is shot on a small DV camera. The 15-person Vanguard team, mostly made up of American journalists and producers, is currently recruiting a British-based contributor.

Laura Ling, vice president of Vanguard, said the reports would be global in nature and aimed to stay in front of events and ahead of the mainstream news agenda.

She described Vanguard journalists’ style as ‘raw and unvarnished, personal and intimate”.

‘This is a journalism product for the hard to reach young audience,’she said.

‘It’s about what’s happening in our world beyond the standard ‘bomb went off here’ style reports and how we can connect the dots to build a bigger picture of what’s going on in our world.”

Despite the fact that the journalists often go to global hotspots on their own or with one other editor/producer, Ling said the network adheres to strict safety protocol. ‘We are not out there to be gonzo journalists doing stories just because they are dramatic.

‘We rejected a number of stories because they haven’t been important enough to merit that risk.

‘If the story does merit that risk, we believe this is the business we are in as journalists to follow them up.”

Reports to be broadcast on Vanguard Journalism include Christof Putzel’s investigation into the rise of neo-Nazi groups in Russia and their attacks on immigrants, and former navy seal Kaj Karsen’s report into waterboarding – the controversial practice allegedly used by the US government.

And it will also include a report from British journalist Nina Garthwaite revealing that teenage girls in Cameroon are having their breast ‘ironed’flat to make them less attractive to men in an effort to prevent teenage pregnancies.

Vanguard special reports can be viewed online at

The schedule for Current TV, which is designed for ‘media snacking”, is dictated by the viewers, via the Current TV website. They have the power not only to comment on videos but also ‘green light’programmes on to the television channel.

The Vanguard strand encourages audience contribution through Current TV’s VC2 (Viewer Created Content) concept. The network pays these VC2 producers when their short films (also known as ‘pods”) are broadcast.

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