Vault 7: Journalism Story Pitch
Stimulus: Vault 7
Context: Mass surveillance being conducted by US govt on its citizens, in order to watch terrorists & reduce likelihood of an attack
Broader Issue: Using the threat of terrorism as an excuse to use mass surveillance as a means to control the American population
This story will:
- Look at the issue of mass surveillance and how the government uses it as a means to control its population
What makes your angle fresh/innovative/original:
- Most coverage provided by mass media
- Journalists unable to freely speak their mind, offer their own opinions
- Lack of opinion and arguments of people who can speak freely and independently
It fits with the content usually found in Vice because it is a story regarding an important societal issue that is not receiving enough air time
It would appeal to its audience because it uses well-known figures in popular culture to unpack a complex societal issue
What publication would this story suit?
- Vice: independent youth-oriented news organisation
- The piece would be included in the ‘Vice News’ section of vice.com
- Predominantly young people, high interest in such issues (18-35 year old’s)
- ‘Free thinkers’
- People who conduct their own research and form opinions accordingly
- Critical of government and societal norms forced on them
Type of Media used:
- The article would be comprise of written text, accompanied by a video of our conversation with our interviewees
- Below is an example of an article on Vice’s Online website
- Our article would be formatted in a similar manner
- We would include the video content at the top of the article, under the title, hoping to catch the reader’s attention with captivating interviews that would lead them to read the rest of the story
- We would interview 6 subjects with opposing opinions on the topic
- Use pop culture figures to support the direction of the story
- Allow platform for supporters of the surveillance program to defend why they believe it is effective
- Michael Moore
- Well-known liberal government critic
- Unafraid to speak his mind
- Called Edward Snowden a ‘hero’
- Joey Bada$$
- Hip-hop artist
- Unafraid to question government and speak & write lyrics on controversial matters
- Openly talked about being under surveillance from the government
- Oliver Stone
- Director of ‘Snowden’ movies
- Known for being critical of government through films
- Previous work includes ‘JFK’ and ‘Nixon’
- Ice Cube
- Former hip-hop artist
- Was member of gangster rap group N.W.A in the late 1980’s and early 90’s
- Lyrics include that at “night (he) sees the light through the bedroom window”
- In reference to being watched as a by-product of his politically charged music
- Mike Pompeo
- Current CIA Director
- Openly called for increased surveillance
- Hillary Clinton
- Politician and former Presidential candidate
- Has continuously campaigned for increased online surveillance
- Questions for sources: (anti-surveillance)
- Do you believe it is an invasion of privacy for the government to be watching and listening to what people are doing, and why?
- Can you recall any instances when you have known you are physically being watched: e.g. realise your phone is tapped, been followed by agents?
- Do you use location scramblers or encrypted messaging as a means of having some sense of privacy?
- A common defence of the surveillance program from civilians is that they ‘have nothing to hide’. How damaging do you think this naïve attitude is, and what would you say to these people?
- Do you think the recent revelations (Vault 7) will cause the government to dial back their surveillance or do you think they will keep operating in the same manner?
- Questions for sources: (pro-surveillance)
- Is there any evidence that large-scale collection of citizen’s data prevents terrorist attacks?
- How long is our data stored and at what point do you determine it can be destroyed?
- It appears there is no stopping our data and information being sold and misused. Who is monitoring the head of the surveillance programs?
- Vault 7 and the Edward Snowden NSA leaks were multiple instances of 2 separate organisations being caught conducting illegal surveillance of its citizens. Why is the US government not open and honest about the extent of its surveillance program?
- How would you feel if you were on the other side of the coin, and information was being collected and stored en-masse about you?
- Mike Pompeo
- Michael Moore