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Vice Media to lay off hundreds of employees, cease publishing to website

Dreamstime/Dreamstime/TNS

Vice Media is laying off hundreds of employees and will cease publishing new content on its website Vice.com, according to an internal memo sent Thursday.

The news comes less than a year after the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and announced an agreement to sell its assets to lenders.

The digital media company aims to put “more emphasis on our social channels as we accelerate our discussions with partners to take our content to where it will be viewed most broadly,” CEO Bruce Dixon wrote in a memo reviewed by the Daily News.

Dixon added that the Vice-owned website Refinery29, a digital publication tailored to women, will remain functional as a standalone site with a focus on social content.

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“We create and produce outstanding original content true to the Vice brand. However, it is no longer cost-effective for us to distribute our digital content the way we have done previously,” Dixon added. “Moving forward, we will look to partner with established media companies to distribute our digital content, including news, on their global platforms, as we fully transition to a studio model.”

Dixon has not yet specified if the changes mean the Vice website will officially be taken down.

Vice News editor-in-chief Josh Visser discussed the troubling news with staff in a Zoom call Thursday morning, informing them he had reached our to senior executives about rumors the website was shuttering, but had not yet received an answer.

“Our website and our work being pulled down would be completely reprehensible,” he reportedly told employees. “I cannot even understand any business reasons why you would do something like that.”

In the past five years, Vice has undergone a series of layoffs and cutbacks, and had a change of ownership after filing for bankruptcy last May.

Fortress Investment Group, a private-equity firm which took control in 2023, has continued to make further cuts as it attempts to find a new strategy to become profitable.

Vice was founded in 1994 in Montreal, by three Canadian journalists, including far-right commentator and Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes.

The company’s struggles are indicative of a larger economic issue facing the journalism industry, as almost all news publishers were forced to make budget cuts in the last year, including The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.