Vice. It’s slippery work.

vice report art

Vice Report is the true-crime site where Mona Breen, my female crime investigator, works as a reporter. She is conflicted about this job. But her boss, Grant Renard, wants her to stay. She has a gift for the work. And he likes her.

He can see she is on the fence. So he tries to persuade her to believe in his cause. It’s not just a job, for him, it’s a mission.

He takes her out for drinks and explains why he does it:

“‘Ours is slippery work,” Grant continued. “We look at whatever the seamy underbelly of our culture is at any given moment and push the envelope just a tiny bit. If we hit the edge—exactly—of what the vast majority consider to be vice, we win. And when we win, we get clicks, advertisers, money. If we push too far, we lose advertisers who can’t be ‘seen’ associating with us. If we don’t push hard enough, we lose readers—er clicks—as people go to more stately sites for not-so-edgy news.

Vice laws govern the hard line. But we manage the slippery one. And the slippery one is all over the place right now. Underage kids are sent to prison for having consensual sex with their also underage girlfriend. Our president is a rapist.

This schism is the very psyche of our culture. Our concept of vice reflects our collective conscience. That is why I started this site. Yes, we cover the everyday crimes. But we push the idea of vice. We talk, every day, about our conscience. What we think is right and what we think is wrong…'”

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