North Korea. The Harlem Globetrotters. Ex-NBA star Dennis Rodman. Kim Jong Un.
It was a gonzo journalism stunt at its finest, and it was chronicled by VICE for its upcoming TV newsmagazine on HBO. The New York Times‘ Brian Stelter gives the tick-tock on how the trip went down. Some kety details: HBO paid a little extra to VICE, beyond the agreed upon licensing fees, to help pay for the trip. Rodman and the Harlem Globetrotters were paid an undisclosed sum to go on the trip, and it isn’t yet cl;ear when the North Korea trip will air on the series, which debuts April 5.
To say this was all part of Vice’s master plan would overstate the matter. The producers and reporters had no assurances that Mr. Kim would attend the game. But when they arranged the trip to North Korea, a rarity in and of itself, they thought like diplomats. To get what they wanted, they considered what they could give — and they came up with Mr. Rodman and the Globetrotters. “We knew he’d be tempted by basketball,” said a Vice spokesman, referring to Mr. Kim…
“This was not, and Vice is not, about going in and doing the definitive story on North Korea and arms,” Mr. Lombardo said. “This was always intended to be, ‘You know what, let’s get our camera into an isolated country that we hear about, we read about and yet is hard for us to even picture.’ ”