• NY-Based VICE Lays Off Hundreds, Website Shuttered

    February 23, 2024
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    Source: YouTube screencap

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    VICE Media Group LLC announced yesterday that they are slashing jobs and will no longer publish content on Vice.com.

    Believe it or not, VICE used to be cool. Edgy, even. Among its Montreal co-founders: Gavin McInness, who went on to establish the Proud Boys after leaving VICE in 2008. They broke stories that mainstream media wouldn't touch. Their reporters didn't wear jackets and ties. They were, for Generation Xers, the first news site that spoke our language. VICE was irreverent. It was grunge media.

    Vice.com homepage ca. Feb. 2012 (source: Wayback Machine)

    From Alt-Darling To Also-Ran

    All profitable ideas are subsumed, eventually, by the corporate monster. At the height of its cultural relevance in 2013, Rupert Murdoch came calling. 21st Century Fox bought a 5% stake in the company. Soon, celebrity producers such as Bill Maher got involved, and the slow devolution had begun. Yes, VICE had become a major player in the media world, but it sold its soul in the process.

    VICE started out edgy, became wildly successful, lost its edge, and turned into the sort of outlet it used to skewer. It was perhaps the slowest slo-mo of a woke-to-broke sequence since the advent of that phrase.

    At its peak in 2017, VICE was valued at $5.7 billion. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year and was sold for $350 million to a consortium of buyers.

    While the end of VICE is no sad occasion to the folks at TheManhattan, it's at least worth pausing and remembering what once was. Not so if you're a modern independent journalist like Lauren Brown or Anna Slatz, in which case it's time to gloat and drive your plow over the bones of the dead.

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