Shane Smith is nowhere to be directly found in the Columbia Journalism Review’s big summer piece about Vice. Why? Well, Bloomberg View’s Justin Fox has a pretty good potential explanation:
Author Chris Ip couldn’t focus on the ineffable appeal of Smith, because Smith wouldn’t talk to him. Advertisers read the Wall Street Journal, the people at Vice probably figured, but they don’t read CJR. Also, a CJR article was likely to focus on the potential conflicts between Vice’s role as advertisers’ and TV networks’ conduit to the millennials and its aspirations as a news organization – which Ip’s piece in fact does.
Fox draws interesting parallels between Smith/Vice and the early days of William S. Paley with CBS. He argues that: a) Paley also knew how to create content that appealed to the audiences advertisers were looking to connect with most; and, b) Like Smith, Paley was a guy advertisers wanted to hang out with.
Fox misses out on one other key aspect of all this. Smith and Paley were born on the same date: September 28. It’s enough to make Vice perhaps start populating this limited-use tag.