According to a leaked internal memo, Vice Media Group is reducing its global news team to focus on digital video, documentaries, and series development.
Semafor reporter Maxwell Tani shared the memo on Twitter on Thursday.
“In response to the current market conditions and business realities facing VMG and the broader news and media industry, we are moving forward on some painful but necessary reductions, primarily across our News business,” the company’s leadership wrote.
The hit news show Vice News Tonight, which premiered on HBO in 2016 and was later moved to Vice TV, is also on the chopping block.
Internal memo from Vice leadership announcing cuts including the end of Vice News Tonight pic.twitter.com/Xsxi4ZjsgM
— Max Tani (@maxwelltani) April 27, 2023
Vice Media originated from Montreal-based Vice magazine, created by journalists Suroosh Alvi, Gavin McInnes, and Shane Smith. Smith also made Vice News Tonight. Its last broadcast will happen in May.
“We are NOT exiting the news business, but we are changing the shape of VICE News to position the whole Company for long-term opportunities and improve how we deliver important, ground-breaking journalism well into the future,” clarified Vice’s current co-CEOs Bruce Dixon and Hozefa Lokhandwala.
The executives said it’s clear the company needs to accelerate VICE News’ transition to the platforms where its biggest audiences are on — on “Paramount+ with Showtime, FAST Channels, YouTube, TikTok, Twitch, and via documentary programming for streaming platforms such as Netflix, HBO Max, and Tubi.”
The memo concludes by telling its recipients that Vice’s global human resources team will begin notifying employees whose jobs are directly impacted by these changes.
In 2015 after its US employees voted in favour of unionization, Vice’s workforce joined the Writers Guild of America.
“These workers are suffering the consequences of years of poor decisions they played no part in,” Vice Union wrote on Twitter following Thursday’s announcement.
VICE Union is devastated by today’s mass layoffs affecting dozens of unit members and around 100 employees overall. These workers are suffering the consequences of years of poor decisions they played no part in.
— VICE Union (@viceunion) April 27, 2023
In an email to Daily Hive, Vice Media Group’s Global Director of Communications Elise Flick confirmed that the reductions have not affected Vice operations and staff in Canada.
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On April 20, BuzzFeed Inc. also said it was reducing its workforce by “approximately 15%” and cutting roles across its business, content, tech, and admin teams. Acquired by BuzzFeed in 2020, Huffington Post is now BuzzFeed’s exclusive news brand, and BuzzFeed News has been shut down.
In a memo to staff, Peretti says the company can “no longer continue to fund BuzzFeed News as a standalone organization.” In comparison, Huffington Post is “profitable, with a loyal direct front page audience.”
The media giant also proposed headcount reductions across some international markets. As a result of the news, BuzzFeed’s Chief Revenue Officer Edgar Hernandez and Chief Of Operations Christian Baesler resigned.