A month ago, Vice Media announced a plan to reduce the number of text articles it publishes on Vice.com, Refinery29 and other Vice-owned sites by 40 to 50 percent as the company shifts its emphasis to video. On Thursday, Vice Media laid off more than a dozen employees, many of them writers and text editors.
Cory Haik, Vice Media’s chief digital officer, shared the news of the layoffs with the staff on Thursday in an email that The New York Times obtained. After noting recent successes on video, including the milestone of hitting one million TikTok subscribers for Vice Indonesia this week, Ms. Haik described larger changes at the company worldwide.
“As part of this continued global alignment,” the email continued, “we’ve unfortunately had to say goodbye to some of our friends and colleagues today. We wish them well and thank them for their dedicated service over the years.”
Writers and editors for Refinery29 and Vice shared news of their terminations on Twitter. Nearly 20 full-time jobs were cut, mostly in the United States, a person with knowledge of the layoffs said. The job cuts did not affect Vice News or Vice World News. Vice Union said 17 workers had been laid off from Vice and Refinery 29, and criticized Ms. Haik for only including the fact of the layoffs toward the end of her email to the staff.
“We have worked in this industry long enough to know today’s metrics are tomorrow’s punch lines, and yesterday’s pivot is today’s clumsy tumble,” the union said in a statement.
One former Vice staff member, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe an internal matter, said she had been given a few minutes’ notice before a Google Meet call with Ms. Haik, during which she was told she had lost her job. Access to email was cut within minutes, the former staff member said.
Vice Media is shifting to video and laying off staff as it considers deals that could take it public. Last year, Vice Media laid off 155 workers, mostly overseas, with about 55 jobs cut in the United States, in response to business pressures resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.
The real estate website The Real Deal reported on Thursday that Vice Media was planning to move its headquarters from the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn to the Brooklyn Navy Yard.