Vice Media Lays Off Two Top Editors, Sets New Hires And Promotions As Revamp Continues

Vice Media

Continuing a period of restructuring and resetting of its workplace culture, Vice Media has parted ways with two digital editors but also announced a raft of new hires and promotions.

Jonathan Smith, editor-in-chief, and Rachel Schallom, managing editor at Vice Media, have left the company. The moves were not met with surprise internally given the changes being implemented by SVP Digital Katie Drummond. Smith had spent nine years at the company, rising to editor-in-chief of in 2016, while Schallom joined in September, according to information on their respective LinkedIn pages.

In a press release headlined “Vice Digital Expansion Continues With New Hires And Roles,” the company said Erika Allen will be Executive Managing Editor, reporting to Drummond. Derek Mead will expand his role as Executive Editor, and International Editor Meredith Balkus will become Associate Managing Editor.

Other additions to the digital workforce, the company said, include Morgan Baskin, Cameron Joseph, Alex Lubben, Kate Osborn, Gaby Del Valle and David Uberti.

Vice has been engaged in a multi-faceted restructuring effort aimed at addressing issues in its workplace culture and shoring up its competitive position in a fast-changing media landscape. It laid off about 10% of its workforce earlier this year. Disney, one of the company’s blue-chip investors, has disclosed in recent SEC filings that it took writedowns on more than $500 million in investments in Vice, which have netted it a stake of more than 20%.

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Nancy Dubuc, former head of A+E Networks (a longtime stakeholder in Vice and home to its struggling Viceland cable network), took the reins at Vice last spring. Smith, though, remains closely affiliated with the company. Appearing last month at the company’s NewFronts pitch to media buyers in New York, Dubuc assured them, “Change and evolution are in our DNA, thanks to Papa Shane, who’s here with us today.”

The New York Times was the first to report on the editor departures. Max Tani, a media writer at the Daily Beast, had tweeted the news about the comings and goings earlier Tuesday.

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