Vice Media filed for bankruptcy on Monday. As noted in a recent newsletter, this had been expected, but that hardly makes it any less painful for the employees, and indeed founders, of what was previously a titan of the social media news era. The New York Times reported that key lenders to the firm, Fortress Investment Group and Soros Fund Management, are likely to purchase it. At the time of writing, Vice-owned properties appeared to be continuing their normal operations. Indeed, Motherboard covered the news about its parent company.
I can’t imagine any of this bodes well for the journalists and other staff working at the properties Vice Media owns. (This includes Refinery29 and others.) Consolidation, i.e. more layoffs, is surely inevitable. In November 2022, around a dozen editorial staff were made redundant and at the end of last month, co-CEOs Bruce Dixon and Hozefa Lokhandwala told staff that the “Vice News Tonight” show would end on May 25. That was accompanied by redundancies from various content teams.
As I wrote in that newsletter:
Yes, it is undoubtedly true that the likes of Google and Facebook put significant strain on the advertising market, making it hard for such outlets to be sustainable in the long term. Equally, publications became far too dependent on them to spread their work, pivoting to accommodate any algorithmic tweaks. It’s easy to say in hindsight, but there could only ever be one winner.
The realignment continues.