Vice Media is to lay off members of its US and UK news teams, estimated to be around 15 in total, as it promotes Josh Tyrangiel to run its weekly and daily HBO news programmes.
The story, which broke on Politico, and confirmed by a tweet from Vice News’ Harriet Salem, the company’s foreign correspondent in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, will see three of the company’s UK editorial team laid off, alongside a number in the US.
— Harriet Salem (@HarrietSalem) May 24, 2016
It is understood that a remaining team of 18 staff at Vice News UK will continue to work on the company's international news service.
The Vice News digital writers, editors and producers in the US affected are reported to work across both New York and Los Angeles, while the company moved Tyrangiel, who joined from Bloomberg, to head up its news operation.
Vice Media recently hired a number of staff ahead of plans to open in San Francisco and Hong Kong later this year.
Earlier this week, the National Union of Journalists in the UK announced an intention to form a staff council but claimed that a survey sent listing three questions had been passed to other departments within the company in “an attempt to dilute support within the editorial staff” from unionising.
The management of Vice are reported to have ‘walked away’ from talks with the NUJ in April.
“Management have not put forward clear and specific details of what a staff council would look like. It has been frequently expressed that staff were confused and not given enough time and information to make an informed decision,” said the statement issued by the union.
A spokesperson for Vice Media, confirmed the layoffs and added: "The plan in place will expand Vice's news offerings across digital and TV, continue the recent of wave of newsroom hires, add additional foreign bureaus, and marshal the company's existing news divisions into one cohesive powerhouse.”
Of the NUJ claims, Vice Media has stated: "We are committed to listening to and respecting the views of our employees, and after canvassing them all, the majority have voted in favour of setting up their own staff council. We’re excited to see this being formed immediately to provide a forum to continue improving the experience of working at Vice for everyone. We have shared our findings with the NUJ and look forward to carrying on our dialogue with them.”