The Current

Suroosh Alvi on reinventing VICE

As part of our Eye on the Media series, we hear how the company with a wobbly beginning as a lifestyle magazine in Montreal has grown into a worldwide media powerhouse....
Suroosh Alvi, right, in Democratic Republic of Congo. VICE is a multi-million-dollar media conglomerate with its own internet TV channel, generating 4 million hits a month and producing serious investigations into gun-dealing in Pakistan, the politics of the Gaza Strip and black market diamonds in Sierra Leone. (Tim Freccia / VICE Media)
As part of our  Eye on the Media series, we hear how the company with a wobbly beginning as a lifestyle magazine in Montreal has grown into a worldwide media powerhouse.

In an age of declining audiences and shrinking media empires, VICE co-founder Suroosh Alvi believes his company stands out. VICE offers unusual documentaries, newscasts and ongoing series. He's got a worldwide audience and a journalistic record that varies from stunt to inspired.


When it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in the fall of 2007, the documentary Heavy Metal in Baghdad left quite an impression. It was a compelling, candid and very human look at what it was like to live in post-Saddam Iraq, through the eyes of the members of Baghdad's only heavy metal band.

Even more surprising was where the documentary came from. Up until that point, VICE Magazine had been associated primarily with mustachioed hipsters, outrageous satire and potty humour. So there weren't very many people who thought Suroosh Alvi had this kind of work in him.

Suroosh Alvi is one of the founders of VICE Magazine -- now VICE Media -- and he has been at the helm for the last 20 years. Alvi has reported from Iraq, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Gaza Strip.

This interview first aired in March.

What do you think about VICE's transformation?

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This segment was produced by The Current's Gord Westmacott.


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