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Vice Media Document Lays Out Plan for Layoffs Amid Coronavirus Pandemic – The Wall Street Journal

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The coronavirus crisis has added greater urgency to CEO Nancy Dubuc’s efforts to transform and streamline Vice Media.



Photo:

Christopher Goodney/Bloomberg News

An internal document at Vice Media Group lays out a plan for substantial layoffs at the new-media company’s websites, as Vice considers a variety of options to deal with coronavirus pandemic.

The planning document, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, calls for layoffs of over 300 people in digital operations, including major cuts at both Vice News and Refinery29, the women-focused digital publisher Vice acquired last year.

A Vice Media Group spokeswoman said the planning document represented one of several scenarios being developed inside the company for potential consideration and hadn’t been endorsed by management.

“This information also does not reflect [Vice Media Group] standard global reporting metrics and while all media companies are taking steps to plan for precautionary measures during Covid-19, no decisions at VMG have been made,” the spokeswoman said.

The savings from the cuts laid out in the document would be about $40 million, and they could result in a 30% decline in digital traffic as less content is published, the document said.

Vice is expecting online ad sales to suffer during the crisis, with expected shortfalls of 33% at Refinery29 and 39% at Vice’s entertainment and news sites, according to the document.

Virtually every company that sells ads, from TV networks and news sites to tech giants

Facebook Inc.

and

Alphabet Inc.’s

Google, is getting hit as companies slash ad spending dramatically during the pandemic. Vice’s peers across the new-media landscape, including Vox Media Inc., BuzzFeed Inc. and Group Nine Media Inc., have taken steps including furloughs, pay cuts and layoffs.

Last month, Vice told employees its top executives were taking voluntary compensation reductions of 25%, with Chief Executive Nancy Dubuc taking a 50% reduction.

Vice, the largest of the new-media companies, already was under stress before the novel coronavirus struck. It lost about $50 million last year and came in about 8% short of its $650 million revenue target, the Journal reported. It also is on the hook for big payments to investor TPG, stemming from a fundraising deal struck in 2017.

The health crisis is making it more urgent for Ms. Dubuc to transform and streamline the company. The document suggests Vice is looking to rein in international costs. One analysis in the internal document calculated that many European markets like Germany, Spain and the Netherlands had relatively large staffs for the amount of web traffic they brought in. The document said the company could potentially close its office in Canada, Vice’s birthplace, but the spokeswoman denied that is being considered.

After years of trying to sell ads across a host of sectors, Vice Media is trying to focus its sales efforts on a few big categories. The document noted the company’s 2019 performance “may indicate an ‘exhaustion of industry penetration’” by Vice.

Its largest digital-advertising category last year in North America was alcohol, followed by apparel and telecommunications, while Refinery29’s biggest category by far was fashion and retail. Geico, Adidas, State Farm and

Harley-Davidson

were among the biggest Vice advertisers.

Vice is also sorting its programming into broad categories, at times describing its ambitions in terms borrowed from big-budget television and movies, such as “series,” “franchise” and “tentpole,” according to the document. Another major effort is “transcreation,” repurposing content by translating it into another language and adjusting it to fit new cultures.

The document also notes that some of Vice digital’s international editorial staff would be transferred to “VWN,” or Vice World News. That refers to an international initiative funded by a recent deal between Vice and Antenna Group, a Greek media company that is one of Vice’s oldest international partners.

Write to Benjamin Mullin at Benjamin.Mullin@wsj.com and Keach Hagey at keach.hagey@wsj.com

Copyright ©2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

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Social media helps solve mystery of lost camera found in Kelowna’s Mill Creek – Globalnews.ca

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Brianna Irawan, 13, was extremely happy after finding out on Thursday that her prized underwater camera that had been lost for almost a year had been found in Kelowna’s Mill Creek.

The Williams Lake teen was visiting relatives in Kelowna last year when she lost the camera while jumping into the waterfalls at Mill Creek Regional Park.

“We were on Mill Creek, jumping into the water and I put my camera underneath my clothes,” Irawan told Global News on Friday.

“When I jumped, I forgot about my camera, so I walked back up and then I picked up my clothes and I forgot my camera was underneath and it fell into the water.”






2:01
Social media helps solve mystery of lost camera found in Kelowna’s Mill Creek


Social media helps solve mystery of lost camera found in Kelowna’s Mill Creek

READ MORE: Kelowna man finds digital camera in Mill Creek for second time

She went back the creek several times over the next few days, but eventually had to write her camera off to the river gods.

Story continues below advertisement

The Fujifilm XP model wasn’t seen again until almost a year later when Calvin Van Buskirk found it caught up in some debris downstream.

“What makes it even more interesting is we found a GoPro there last year. You guys [Global News] were able to get the images and the videos off it within hours it found its way back to its rightful owner,” Van Buskirk said.






1:52
Construction crew makes unusual find near Kelowna


Construction crew makes unusual find near Kelowna

It took less than 24 hours for images retrieved from the camera to make their way around social media and back to their owner.

Story continues below advertisement

Kyla Irawan, Brianna’s mother, sent a message to Global News on Thursday afternoon through Facebook to say the photos had come from her daughter.

On Friday, Global News returned the camera — still in working order — to Brianna’s uncle, Travis Whiting, who is also Kelowna’s fire chief.






2:43
‘This is the craziest thing,’: Lost GoPro owner reunited with camera


‘This is the craziest thing,’: Lost GoPro owner reunited with camera

The Irawans shared a message of gratitude with Van Buskirk.

“Thank you, Calvin, we totally appreciate your honesty,” said Kyla Irawan.

“Thank you for putting it on Global so I can give my daughter the opportunity to have all those memories back.”

For her part, Brianna said she can’t wait to see her FujiFilm XP model again.

Story continues below advertisement

“Soon as I get it, I’m going to transfer the photos” to a computer, she said.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Former UBC basketball assistant coach criticized for social media activity – The Province

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Long-time assistant men’s basketball coach Vern Knopp will no longer work next to head coach Kevin Hanson.

The University of B.C. is distancing itself from former assistant men’s basketball coach Vern Knopp following questions about some of his activity on social media.

A Twitter account called Muted Madness pointed out on Thursday that Knopp had hit the like button on a video posted by conservative comedians the Hodge Twins on June 3 that claims the Black Lives Matter movement is a “leftist lie.”

A number of other Twitter users echoed the criticism of Knopp, who served as head coach Kevin Hanson’s volunteer assistant for the past two decades.

Later on Thursday, he shared a comment on his account, which is set to private: “So I never knew some likes to conservative posts would cause this shit storm? However my LIKES are those of mine and have nothing to do with UBC! I had told Coach Hanson months ago that I wasn’t returning to UBC but I just not (sic) made it public, only to my family.”

Reached via direct message on Friday, Knopp said he’d told Hanson about his decision in May as well as some parents on the team, but declined to make further comment.

Later on Thursday, Kavie Toor, UBC Athletics’ managing director, distanced the university from Knopp.

“Vern Knopp’s personal opinions, beliefs and social media endorsements do not represent the ideals and values of the UBC Thunderbirds. Vern Knopp is no longer a member of the Thunderbrids men’s basketball coaching staff,” he tweeted.

On Friday, the university’s athletics department declined to comment further.

The Alma Mater Society, a UBC students’ union, expressed support for the university’s position.

“The AMS is committed to supporting students from the Black community at this time, and we are actively working to develop programming to help combat anti-Black racism at UBC. The sentiments expressed by Mr. Knopp have absolutely no place at UBC, and society in general,” they said in a statement.

“We are encouraged to see that UBC Athletics and Recreation has taken a zero-tolerance approach to this issue.”

On Tuesday, the department shared a message on Twitter from university president Santa Ono.

“As Thunderbirds we join all of UBC in condemning racism in all forms. We are committed to an inclusive and respectful environment where we listen, learn and continue to grow together,” the department said in a tweet.

pjohnston@postmedia.com

twitter.com/risingaction


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Saskatoon police Cst. placed on leave in connection with 'concerning' social media posts – CKOM News Talk Sports

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The Saskatoon Police Service has placed a constable on administrative leave regarding concerning posts on their personal social media account.

On Friday morning, police say they were notified about private posts that a member is accused of making on his personal social media account.

Police say the posts were harmful and offensive to the gender and sexually diverse community.

As a result, the member was immediately placed on administrative leave and an investigation was initiated regarding his conduct.

In a release, Chief of Police Troy Cooper said, “The relationship we have with the gender and sexually diverse community is incredibly important to the Saskatoon Police Service. I was to assure the public that we take these complaints seriously. We have acted swiftly to address the issue and a thorough investigation will occur.”

The 12-year member will remain on administrative leave while an investigation takes place.

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