https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24R8JObNNQ4 (first trip - Shane Smith was banned from the country as a result)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrCQh1usdzE (second trip years later, where they got in under the guise of a Basketball game)
Unfortunately it's been increasingly hit or miss ever since and now their process seems to be along these lines: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sw5UzBjgCiI
Also, how is it that so many of these media companies are having layoffs at almost exactly the same time? You'd think it'd be more scattered...
They're just not making enough money. They're making money, but not enough. There's a large drive to produce more with less, and to reboot.
Journalism, especially good journalism, is expensive. Expensive to execute, and expensive to produce.
And everybody wants it for free now.
Properties got bought up, and owning papers and magazines was a hot item. They were posting large gains yearly, and shareholders were pleased.
When those gains started going down, shareholders became not so pleased! Then the company puts pressure on the properties to cut costs and perform better and sell more to keep those gains coming against a downward pressure that was almost constant. The companies put more pressure on the properties, etc. Many of those properties cut print production completely over the past 20 years and have moved solely online with teams a small fraction of the size they once had. A few emerged less damaged, but still not what they once were financially.
There's a great thread about this very thing happening:
And I guess it's now happening to the online-native media companies.
It will probably hit tech harder in the coming years too, if these histories are evidence of a pattern.
The barriers to entry (and republishing) are also a lot lower now. Why sink a bunch of time and resources into a single piece, when another news company could just come along and say "Thanks for doing the work for us!" and republish it for ad revenue with minor edits. Everyone is rushing to be first, which typically results in a first publisher with nearly instant fast-followers. Plus, when news is ubiquitous and free, users have tons of choices to read the story from, so there is always an alternative around the corner.
Then it was acquired and it pivoted sharply into being a media and news portal, with a presence on nigh every platform. The content quickly expanded in quantity, and critically overloaded itself in trying to dominate online discussion in every space.
By who? The Wikipedia article on Vice Media says they were acquired in 1999--without listing who the acquirers were--but also says that the cofounders bought it back in 2001. All of the pivoting you're talking about appears to have happened under the original management, in any case, didn't it? They've had investment from a bunch of "old media" companies over the years, but original founder Shane Smith retained a controlling interest. (It looks like Disney will own more of the company than he does once their merger with Fox is completed.)
At a time when the executive controlled roughly 3/4 of Vice, Fox purchased 5% of it; other major media have done so. Shortly before this occurance, Gavin McInnes had left his leadership role over alleged differences of opinion on how to run Vice Media.
His departure, the arrival of large media conglomerates as large minority shareholders, and the rapid expansion of Vice into new properties and markets all occur within a very short time span.
And that last statement is a lot of conjecture. Unless you have proof of some conspiracy to dominate online discussion in every space. They do cover a wide variety of subjects, only a couple of which I've read—and they seem generally good, with the odd very good piece.
Most media companies run a small gamut of niche categories: lifestyle, fashion, news, business, tech, finance, etc.
That's exactly what I liked from them, but I don't really see that anymore. Motherboard is okay. That's pretty much my contact with Vice.
This overlooks the role Google and Facebook play in draining all advertising money from every other industry.
People always wanted their news for free, and it worked just fine before advertising got so concentrated.
I'm willing to pay for it but I know not everybody is. Like, the vast majority of people.
It's very similar to the F2P game space. Nobody wants to pay for games so studios release games which seem to have used the laws of economics to extract the optimal amount of money from people. These games don't seem like good or fun games to me but they do entertain a lot of people.
Same for a lot of these articles. A lot of clickbait and shallow content.
I've been wondering this myself.
One possibility is that lots of companies had layoffs proposed/planned, and they've accelerated their schedules to be part of the "wave". Better for investor confidence to be one more name in a followup story than to be your own headline.
Another is that the October-onwards stock drop eroded the prospects of a lot of borderline companies all at once. I'd be a bit surprised by both the timing (well into the rally) and the ownership range (everything from private founder-owned to private Disney-owned to public) though.
Third, I suppose, is that they didn't have them planned but saw an opportunity. If you lay off 10% of your staff in isolation, you might well lose another 5-10% of the best people who go find safer jobs. But if there's a clear industry crunch, it becomes a more appealing way to balance the budget because you can deflect the anger and resignations that otherwise come along with layoffs.
Wonderful. I've been thinking about an excuse to post this even before clicking the discussion link.
I have a sense that big waves like this are a leading indicator for market as a whole.
So how could it be related to any hiring or layoff trends in the media industry? And that's assuming this money was allowed to be used as direct subsidy to non-government news outlets.
>And that's assuming this money was allowed to be used as direct subsidy to non-government news outlets.
That is not an assumption, that is what the text of the bill explicitly states:
>There is authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary of State for fiscal years 2017 and 2018 $20,000,000 to support the Center and provide grants or contracts of financial support to civil society groups, journalists, nongovernmental organizations, federally funded research and development centers, private companies, or academic institutions for the following purposes:
17 (A) To support local independent media
18 who are best placed to refute foreign
19 disinformation and manipulation in their own
21 (B) To collect and store examples in print,
22 online, and social media, disinformation, misin23
formation, and propaganda directed at the
24 United States and its allies and partners.
1 (C) To analyze tactics, techniques, and
2 procedures of foreign government information
3 warfare with respect to disinformation, misin4
formation, and propaganda.
5 (D) To support efforts by the Center to
6 counter efforts by foreign governments to use
7 disinformation, misinformation, and propa8
ganda to influence the policies and social and
9 political stability of the United States and
10 United States allies and partners.
It specifically specifies nongovernmental and private organizations in the text of the bill. And it's coincidental that these organizations just started laying off employees in bulk at the start of 2019.
From the Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Countering_Foreign_Propaganda_...
> n the version of the bill incorporated into the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, the U.S. Congress would ask the United States Secretary of State to collaborate with the United States Secretary of Defense and other relevant Federal agencies to create a Global Engagement Center (GEC) to fight against propaganda from foreign governments, and publicize the nature of ongoing foreign propaganda and disinformation operations against the U.S. and other countries
Seems like the bill -- which was part of the National Defense Authorization Act -- itself said that the money should come from the Pentagon. So how am I conflating things?
edit: Also worth noting that these organizations did not just start laying off people this year. Nearly every year, or two years, these organizations have big layoffs. Here's Buzzfeed from late 2017: https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/29/buzzfeed-layoffs-restructuri...
>Almost $20 million of the $60 million was already in the State Department’s coffers and will be released to the center's officials to fight propaganda by terrorist groups such as the Islamic State. Tillerson also approved a request for a transfer of $40 million from the Pentagon to the center so it can fight state-sponsored propaganda.
Both the Pentagon money and the original S.3274 amount were authorized, albeit after some foot dragging by Tillerson. That would seem to undercut my speculation that it went and was spent by news orgs, we'd have to figure out who the GEC's non-governmental partners were/are. I'm not sure how to look that up.
Also you can get notifications of updates via email or RSS:
They were all "darlings" of a free and open internet and social media. They either started in the mid 2000s or had their growth in that era ( vice started in the 90s but their major growth occurred in the mid 2000s ). Without an open and free internet and social media, they would never have been created let alone thrived.
Unfortunately for them, big media companies ( nytimes, cnn, wapo, etc ) that they compete against have won preferential status within social media and the wider internet. So they are now struggling to grow and even stay afloat.
They only have themselves to blame so I have no sympathy for them. They are the ones who demanded that "authoritative sources" get preferential treatment on google news, google search, youtube, facebook, etc.
If search results or the news feed aren't based on merit but human moderated "authoritative sources", then there is no room for buzzfeed, vice, huffpo. Whereas the nytimes, cnn, wapo, etc have structural advantages, name recognition and other broadcast avenues, these small companies are entirely internet/social media driven.
You would have thought that they would have protected their turf rather than cheerleading nytimes, cnn, wapo, etc taking over their turf. But oddly enough, buzzfeed, vice, huffo, etc have been the greatest champions of a closed and moderated internet.
Whereas I used to see buzzfeed, vice, huffpo articles/videos on youtube and google search on a regular basis. Now I hardly ever seen them. Instead, I see a lot of cnn, wapo, nytimes, etc results and recommends. I've never used facebook, but I'm guessing the same thing has happened there, just as happened with google news years back.
Also, these layoffs are just a tip of the iceberg. They are laying off during a major economic growth, low unemployment and tons of easy cash floating around. Imagine the pain they are going to feel when the recession comes and money gets tight. But as I said, they only have themselves to blame. And it's only going to get worse as tech companies ( at their request ) only allow "authoritative sources".
The entire focus was on this 'new terrifying drug' when it really should have been about the abject poverty leading those desperate junkies to shooting up cheap, solvent laced opiates.
The whole thing really bugged me and honestly, the attitudes of their journalists when they go into places like that is really just terrible sometimes. Though I guess it did lead me to research more on the subject and learn enough to know what a poor documentary it really was...
What I think they do best is their TV. Vice News Tonight is extremely good. And their HBO one hour show is also very good.
A friend works there as a video editor and they work exclusively on the weekly show, which kind of leads me to believe that they probably have teams allocated to a single property. I also know they'll work on one episode for a couple of weeks, so they have separate teams of people working on separate episodes at once.
Edit: my friend was a freelancer there for a few years before they were hired
Anyone know how this compares to other organizations?
It was interesting to note that TWS was largely anti-Trump, ad Red State laid off mostly anti-Trump writers.
vice (not the site) and buzzfeed news (not regular buzzfeed) are a new beatst in the news industry. they sell tailored pieces (pretty much an improved model that wired used to reborn in the 2000s). for example vice got a huge account promoting gun hobby. go to their YouTube channel and you will see half of their documentaries are touting the fun of owning guns. the site now only exists as a payment hub for those documentaries. buzzfeed (and Verizon media) tried the same but are moving much slower (but you wait when an election is around the corner, you will hear a lot from those)
Now they are cutting people from the low effort side but keeping the investigative journalism intact.
It's interesting business model. Produce cheap trash in large volumes to people who consume it and to do little real journalism on side. It really confuses people because the Buzzfeed brand image is schizophrenic. It's both news & bullshit.
Of course, I wish they were only cutting out clickbait trash, but alas the advertisement machine must be fed.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRuSS0iiFyo "VICE: The Cannibal Warlords of Liberia"
Their coverage of the rebuilding efforts and failures in Afghanistan for instance was very illuminating and well done, I highly recommend giving this a watch though it's very upsetting:
I want people to like their jobs... But if the option is have a shit demanding job where you make great content vs a nice comfortable job where you make good/mediocre content and then get laid off.
This does not seem like a economy at its peak. It seems like a contraction.
A sneak peak:
Here are some of the types you'll need to invite.
TRANSSEXUAL: Pre-op is good, but post–breast implants, pre–gender reassignment is PERFECTION. All transsexuals are slutty, so don't worry about that. This guest is a very high priority and should be catered to accordingly. Put her first in the queue for cocaine and drinks. Tell her how pretty she is. Touch her a lot.
GUY WHO WILL FUCK TRANSSEXUAL: He is your #2 guy, your party wingman. If the tranny doesn't feel loved, she will leave.
(1) The community is very small.
(2) That community would likely not want to read this.
Is the intended audience center-left folks? I don't really see why that audience would want to read this. Is the audience center-right? Full-throated right-wing? I don't see why any substantial number of conservatives would care to read this?
I have a pet theory about the rate of absurdity in a world being dependent on the rate of both population growth and communications connectivity, but I won't bore anyone here with it.
While Vice largely change its approach after McInnes left, it hasn't removed or addressed the articles from those darker times.