In a sweeping effort to shift focus exclusively to video, media and tech news site Vocativ has let go of its entire editorial staff, affecting roughly 20 employees, including contract and full-time reporters, editors, staff writers and art directors.
Ben Reininga, who was named editor-in-chief in January, will remain in that role.
A Vocativ spokesperson said: “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 spokesperson added the decision was instigated by the “tremendous success” Vocativ has experienced in its video content.
An all-staff announcement read, in part: “We’ve seen a shift in digital publishing in favor of distribution on social media and other platforms, along with a dramatic increase in demand for captivating video content. Additionally, streaming services and program providers are investing billions of dollars to fulfill a market demand for original, long-form programming.
"For Vocativ, this is an opportunity we plan to seize." The email continued: “We will be phasing out written stories.”
The move is also an effort to continue targeting Vocativ’s young, millennial audience, which increasingly prefers to consume video content.
Vocativ uses proprietary data-mining technology to explore the deep Web, a large part of the Internet that exists beyond what the average user accesses, to discover stories. It includes everything from forums, databases, documents and public records to social platforms, chat rooms and commerce sites.
Vocativ has been making video since its creation in 2013, landing production deals with MSNBC, TLC and Discovery. Its documentary series “Dark Net,” made in partnership with Showtime, is especially popular.
Going forward, Vocativ intends to triple its investment in the company’s video operations, as well as establish a dedicated unit to create mini documentaries, docu-series and feature-length films.
Vocativ already has its own production arm, Vocativ Films, which remains untouched by the changes.
The company will build out its teams in New York and Israel, where it does a lot of its video production. Vocativ is owned by Israeli tech and security billionaire Mati Kochavi.
Many Vocativ employees took to Twitter to vouch for their former co-workers.
Ryan Beckler, a growth editor at Vocativ, tweeted a Google spreadsheet with the names and contact information of staff who had been let go, urging companies to hire them.
He wrote, “A lot of wonderful and talented people got laid off at Vocativ today. Here's all their contact info. Hire them.”