Digital news: Read all about it

LAST December Uruguay became the first country to legalise cannabis fully. Soon afterwards, an American website, became the first news organisation to send a journalist to smoke weed with José Mujica, Uruguay’s president. It is this sort of plucky, playful reportage that has caught the attention of millions of young media consumers—and, more recently, investors. This week A&E Networks, a television company jointly owned by Disney and Hearst, was negotiating to buy a 10% stake in Vice’s parent company.The deal would value Vice Media at $2.5 billion, nearly double what it was worth about a year ago when Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox bought a 5% stake, and ten times what Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, paid for the venerable Washington Post last year. Vice has come a long way from its origins as a punk magazine in Montreal.Vice is one of dozens of digital denizens launched in recent years, offering a populist mix of news and entertainment to readers via websites and mobile apps. It is valued more highly than many of its peers because it has a wider range of businesses: besides a news website and a magazine it has an advertising agency and a deal to make television shows for HBO.There are plenty of opportunities to claim young audiences who are…

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