The Current

VICE Magazine Co-Founder Suroosh Alvi

What started as a little Canadian magazine that was big on attitude has become a media giant worth more than a billion dollars. And its still got a lot of attitude. We speak to one of the founders of VICE magazine, Suroosh Alvi.
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)
In an age of devastating layoffs and shrinking media companies, VICE co-founder Suroosh Alvi stands out with a new business model offering documentaries, newscasts and ongoing series featuring people who just had sex. He's got a world-wide audience, solidly attracting younger viewers 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, punk rock attitude and copious amounts of 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 every step of the way over the last 20 years as it has moved from satirical screed to serious -- okay sometimes serious -- journalism. Suroosh Alvi has traveled to and reported from Iraq, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, Afghanistan and The Gaza Strip.

The second season of VICE Media's TV program launches on March 21st on HBC Canada. The VICE News Channel is expected soon.

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