Vice Media will cancel its acclaimed program “Vice News Tonight” as part of a broad restructuring that will result in painful cuts across the organization, the company said Thursday.
“In response to the current market conditions and business realities facing [Vice Media Group] and the broader news and media industry, we are moving forward on some painful but necessary reductions, primarily across our News business,” co-chief executives Bruce Dixon and Hozefa Lokhandwala announced in a memo to employees.
Dixon and Lokhandwala, who stressed that news is “core” to the larger company and that it will not “exit” the business, added, “We are transforming Vice News to better withstand market realities and more closely align with how and where we see our audiences engaging with our content most.”
The cuts will result in dozens of employees losing their jobs, people familiar with the matter told CNN, with the company’s Washington, D.C., bureau being hit particularly hard. The exact number of jobs impacted by the changes, however, was not clear.
The restructuring will have major implications on news teams at Vice Media.
The company will sunset the Vice World News brand and fold its operations under the Vice News umbrella, giving the company a singular news brand. It will also slash its dedicated audio unit, as well as the Vice World News short form video team.
Other workforce cuts will be implemented across the digital organization and the company will trim various budgets, including some travel, to further reduce costs.
Most notably, the award-winning “Vice News Tonight” will come to an end, with its final broadcast airing May 25. The program, which has received the most Emmy nominations of any newscast for five consecutive years, has been on the air for seven years and just celebrated its 1,000th episode last month.
Employees who are being laid off were set to be notified on Thursday. The company will provide them severance and work with the Vice Union on the matter, the people familiar with the situation said.
The restructuring comes as Vice Media, once the darling of the industry, explores a sale. In a memo of her own, Subrata De, executive vice president of Vice News, acknowledged the larger forces at play, saying the cuts are the “result of tough financial realities which continue to challenge the business in the midst of the sales process and changes to our funding model.”
Once held up as the future of what media would look like, Vice Media has failed to live up to the lofty expectations that it — and the industry — set for the company. Vice Media has instead found itself ensnared in various business difficulties and executive changes, including the 2018 resignation of co-founder Shane Smith and the departure of his successor, chief executive Nancy Dubuc, earlier this year.
Nearly every major news, entertainment, and technology company has been forced to slash their workforces in recent months as they face brutal economic headwinds and other industry challenges.
BuzzFeed announced last week that it had made the difficult decision to shutter its news division altogether. Meanwhile, Disney is in the process of eliminating thousands of jobs, which have also impacted ABC News.
CNN, The Washington Post, NPR, Gannett, Vox Media, NBC News, and others have also cut their workforces in recent months.