Rapid growth in internet penetration in Indonesia over the past decade has altered the local media landscape and the ways in which news is produced and consumed. Over the past few years, several new broadcasting and digital media outlets have emerged, such as Tirto.id, Asumsi, Narasi TV, and Kumparan.
One of these new digital players is the American-Canadian company VICE, which opened a Jakarta bureau in 2016. Instead of “importing” the VICE brand to Indonesia, the Jakarta-based team was given free editorial rein. As a result, it has created its own style of journalism that mixes “serious” journalism with popular culture reporting on memes or investigations into supernatural stories.
This approach has garnered national and international awards as well as public attention. For example, VICE Indonesia’s collaboration with Tirto.id and The Jakarta Post to investigate cases of allegations of sexual abuse in Indonesian universities won the 2020 Public Service Journalism Award from the Society of Publishers in Asia (SOPA). Meanwhile, its investigations into debts and debt collection have attracted more than 10 million views on YouTube.
Like many digital media companies, however, VICE Indonesia also faces tough challenges. How is VICE Indonesia tackling these challenges? What does it contribute to the VICE global brand as well as to journalism in Indonesia? Why is VICE Indonesia interested in supernatural stories? And what’s the story with the Khong Guan biscuit tin?
In Talking Indonesia this week, Tito Ambyo explores these questions and more with the managing editor of VICE Indonesia, Ardyan M Erlangga.
In 2022, the Talking Indonesia podcast is co-hosted by Tito Ambyo, Dr Dave McRae from the Centre for Indonesian Law, Islam and Society at the University of Melbourne, Dr Jemma Purdey from Monash University, and Dr Jacqui Baker from Murdoch University.