Vice Media is cutting more than 100 jobs and ending its “Vice News Tonight” news magazine show as part of a broader restructuring of its business.
The layoffs will affect around 7 percent of Vice Media’s workforce of 1,500 employees, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. An internal memo sent to Vice Media employees and reviewed by the newspaper justified the restructuring as needed “to better withstand market realities and more-closely align with how and where we see our audiences engaging with our content most.”
Bruce Dixon and Hozefa Lokhandwala, Vice Media’s co-CEOs, said the company needed to better focus on getting its content on free, ad-supported streaming services and premium offerings like Paramount Plus and YouTube. Vice News clips are already distributed on YouTube, where on-air talent recently began soliciting donations from viewers to “help keep Vice News’ fearless reporting free for millions.”
The job losses will impact employees at Vice News Tonight, a weekly news magazine program that offered long-form segments in a documetary-style format. The show is aired in the United States on Vice TV (formerly Viceland), a cable channel that is operated as a joint venture with A+E Networks. It previously aired on HBO (a long-form documentary show called Vice currently airs on Showtime).
As part of the reorganization, Vice is unifying its various hard news brands into a single unit that will be called Vice News, a move that will see the winding down of the Vice World News brand.
Vice began notifying employees whose roles were eliminated through layoffs on Monday. Affected workers include national security reporter Ben Makuch, VP of Development and Documentary Acquisitions Brendan Kennedy, senior political reporter Cameron Joseph, audio journalist Sam Eagan and Vice News social media manager Evy Kwong.
Some Vice employees who received layoff notices on Thursday are covered by the Writers Guild of America. A spokesperson representing union Vice workers said the group is working with the WGA “to ensure that our unit members receive all that they are owed in severance, according to our contract.”
“This is not the first time Vice has made large layoffs,” the union spokesperson affirmed, “and it will likely not be the last.”