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20 staff go in Vice News revamp

By | Published on Wednesday 25 May 2016


Vice Media has laid off about 20 of its journalists, mainly in the US, although three London-based staffers and two foreign correspondents are also for the chop.

According to The Guardian, the cuts are part of a revamp of Vice’s news operation, which follows the decision to give former Bloomberg hack Josh Tyrangiel – originally hired to develop a daily Vice TV show in the US – a new role overseeing the youth media firm’s wider news output. Despite yesterday’s cuts, it is thought that Vice will continue to grow its news team, by introducing new roles and bases in Hong Kong and San Francisco.

The company has received heavy financial backing from both venture capitalists and traditional media players in recent years, making it a significant player in the online media space, and a full-on competitor to traditional news providers. Vice also continues to expand in terms of output, presumably hoping that scale will boost advertising and sponsorship income to a level that can assure long-term success.

This week’s job cuts follow tensions in Vice’s London HQ between management and some writers over the firm’s refusal to recognise the UK’s National Union Of Journalists as an official representative of its editorial staff.

One staff member who supported NUJ recognition told The Guardian last night: “These redundancies are shocking and an insult to the multi-award winning workers who have put so much into making Vice News a success. The total lack of transparency and consultation also raises serious questions about the company’s recent pretence at staff engagement, while failing to recognise the desire of many staff to unionise”.

Elsewhere in media cutbacks news, The Telegraph axed a number of senior editorial staff yesterday, including Deputy Editor Liz Hunt, while Sky News announced it is shutting down the US version of its website which launched four years ago.