Vice Media saw another round of layoffs Thursday, just weeks after declaring a pivot to video content. According to one source with knowledge of the layoffs, fewer than 20 people were let go.
A memo to global staff from chief digital officer Cory Haik, reviewed by TheWrap, heralded the “growth period” of the last two years and focused on the day’s events as a “global editorial alignment.” She heralded, among other things, Vice’s YouTube account reaching 14 million subscribers and breaking its all-time monthly view record in May, the 20% increase in American traffic to i-D and traffic to Refinery29’s “Unbothered,” a digital community for Black women, rising by over 40% year over year.
After announcing a swatch of promotions, she added, “As part of this continued global alignment 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.”
The layoffs impacted Vice Digital and Refinery29 employees in North America, but no staffers at Vice News, Vice World News or i-D, TheWrap has learned. They included the heads of various desks and initiatives, including digital managing editor Meredith Balkus, Life editorial director Casey Johnson, features editor Kate Dries and writers Josh Terry and Jelisa Castrodale, who confirmed their departures on Twitter.
Last month, the New York Times reported that Vice would be “putting a greater emphasis on videos and other forms of visual storytelling,” in a move that was described as yet another pivot to video.
Representatives for Vice did not return multiple requests for comment on how many staffers are affected. In May of 2020, Vice laid off about 155 staffers as the coronavirus pandemic decimated the media industry.