Vice Media to lay off staff, shutter news site, CEO says

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It’s the latest sign of financial problems buffeting the media industry. Digital sites the Messenger, BuzzFeed News and Jezebel have all shut down in the past year, and legacy media outlets like the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal have also seen job cuts.
Vice, which filed for bankruptcy last year before being sold for $350 million to a consortium led by the Fortress Investment Group, is also looking to sell its Refinery 29 publishing business, CEO Bruce Dixon said in his memo to staff.
NEW YORK (AP) — Vice Media plans to lay off several hundred employees and no longer publish material on its Vice.com website, the company’s CEO said in a memo to staff Thursday.
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Once a swashbuckling media company geared to a younger audience with an immersive storytelling style that encompassed digital, television and film outlets, New York-based Vice was valued at $5.7 billion in 2017.
Dixon offered no specifics about the layoffs, other than saying hundreds of people will be affected and will be notified early next week. The New York Times reported that the company currently has about 900 people on staff.
“I know that saying goodbye to our valued colleagues is difficult and feels overwhelming, but this is the best path forward for Vice as we position the company for long-term creative and financial success,” Dixon said.
He said it was no longer cost-effective for Vice to distribute its digital content, including news, the way it has been. He said Vice would put more emphasis on its social channels and look for different ways to distribute its content.
As part of its strategic shift, Dixon said Vice would follow a studio model.
Before filing for bankruptcy protection last year, Vice canceled its “Vice News Tonight” television program as part of a round of layoffs then.

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