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    TV Critic’s Corner

    ‘Vice News Tonight’ gets you caught up without talking points

    A white nationalist is pictured in the “Vice News Tonight” story “Charlottesville: Race and Terror.”
    HBO
    A white nationalist is pictured in the “Vice News Tonight” story “Charlottesville: Race and Terror.”

    One of my resolutions for this year is to find news through sources devoid of emotion. So as much as Tucker’s fed-up little face helps me through my cardio, and Rachel’s furrowed disappointment in all of us eases me to sleep, I really should be getting crucial information from a more black-and-white source. If only I could think of one!

    In the meantime, I have been enjoying the slight daily serving of passion-neutral news presented by HBO in the form of “Vice News Tonight” (airing nightly at 7:30 p.m.).

    It may seem odd to turn to Vice — the most hedonistic network of them all — for a nightly news bulletin that doesn’t lean too hard on feelings (or smell like it just smoked a joint), but it actually works. Turns out, the overcool detachment baked into the ethos of sk8er-zine-turned-mutlimil-media-conglomerate makes a suitable substitute for journalistic gravitas. 

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    Presented as a minimalist modular slideshow that incrementally “reads” left to right in a white anchorless void, “Vice News Tonight” touches briefly on major topics and lily-pads to the next one every few minutes, leaving only enough room to dig into one topic with any (not much) depth. Still, if you have a half-hour and little patience for the typical hand-holding nightly news tuck-in routine, Vice’s zero waste packaging, brisk pacing, and design-driven presentation (complete with unique typographical umami) will leave you feeling caught up without the empty calories of talking points.

    And, in true Vice form, it will also leave you feeling deeply depressed about the world we live in and asking around to see if your guy from college still deals. Good night and good luck! 

    Michael Andor Brodeur can be reached at mbrodeur@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MBrodeur