Vocativ, the four-year-old digital media brand that made a name for itself by "mining the deep web" for original storytelling, terminated its entire editorial staff today, Folio: has learned.
Employees were notified Wednesday morning that the company has begun a pivot to "focus exclusively on video content," a Vocativ spokesperson tells Folio: in a statement that bears a number of similarities to the one given by Time Inc. CEO Rich Battista following that company's own round of layoffs yesterday.
Founded in 2013, Vocativ primarily differentiates itself from other outlets through its use of a proprietary platform known as Verne, which the company has said allows it to scour the web to uncover stories other news agencies overlook. Vocativ scored its first TV deal, with MSNBC, in 2014, followed by an eight-part series airing on Showtime, "Dark Web," which premiered last year.
It's not clear at this time exactly how many staffers were let go, but a Google Sheet shared on Twitter indicates at least 21 "free agents" following the staff cuts.
A Vocativ spokesperson provided Folio: the following statement:
“Since its founding in late 2013, Vocativ has pioneered a new form of digital journalism using our proprietary technology to tell award-winning stories across a range of formats including on our website, social media and television. As the industry evolves, we are undertaking a strategic shift to focus exclusively on video content that will be distributed via social media and other platforms. The tremendous success we’ve experienced since our launch in both long- and short-form video has positioned us well for this evolution.”
Vocativ has terminated its editorial team, and I am a free agent, effective immediately. I'd love to write for all of you. Email in bio.
— Joe Lemire (@LemireJoe) June 14, 2017
Getting laid off today, worked with an amazing team at Vocativ but now owners are "pivoting" to all video
— Jessica Leber (@jessleber) June 14, 2017
A lot of wonderful and talented people got laid off at Vocativ today.
Here's all their contact info. Hire them: https://t.co/oQMun8JLJg
— Ryan Beckler (@RyanBeckler) June 14, 2017