"Does this story matter? Is it a story that needs telling? Does it inform us as citizens or help us empathize with one another?"
These are the questions that the Peabody board asks of the stories it considers for the prestigious Peabody Award. It appears that in the case of two of VICE News's 2014 documentaries, The Islamic State and Last Chance High, the answer was, "yes."
It is an award that means a lot to us at VICE News, because it celebrates that with which we are most obsessed: storytelling.
In The Islamic State, filmmaker Medyan Dairieh tells the story of the rise of the militant group, formerly known as ISIS, from the very heart of its self-proclaimed caliphate. Dairieh's unprecedented access and fearless approach gave the world chilling insight into a group that continues to vex world powers.
For the 8-part VICE News documentary series Last Chance High, Brent and Craig Renaud spent the better part of a year at Chicago's Moses Montefiore Academy, a school for the city's most at-risk youth. Through intimate verité filmmaking, we were able to see past the often-violent behavior that has gotten many of the students kicked out of traditional schools. We got to see them not as troublemakers, but as individuals — each battling their own demons, and trying to find their place in the world.
VICE News is just over one year old now, and we hope that these two award-winning films are only the beginning of a long tradition of great storytelling. We would like to thank the Peabody board for this incredible honor, as well as all of VICE News's loyal readers and viewers. Congratulations to everyone who worked to bring these films into the world, and of course to all of the winners of the 74th Annual Peabody Awards.