Vice News is expanding its digital news desk as the company moves forward on its plans to focus on a handful of core business areas including news, TV, digital, studio production and Virtue.

Heading into the 2020 election, Vice News has hired seven new people to its digital news operation, including Kate Osborn as head of audio for Vice News and the publisher’s digital team, and Cameron Joseph as senior politics reporter, according to a memo to staff sent by Ryan McCarthy, editor-in-chief of ViceNews.com. Vice News is still looking to fill two new positions on its politics beat, including a position for senior politics editor, as the newsroom ramps up for 2020 election coverage, McCarthy said in the memo.

In addition to politics coverage, Vice is also building out its digital audio team led by Osborn, the spokesperson said.

The hires are part of Vice Media CEO Nancy Dubuc’s plans to invest money in five core business areas, following a round of layoffs earlier this year meant to reduce costs and put Vice on a path toward sustainable profits. Vice’s January layoffs resulted in a 10% reduction of its global workforce.

A Vice spokesperson declined to state the exact number of new hires Vice Media is planning to make within its newsroom in 2019, but said Vice News plans to staff up “significantly.”

Other key business initiatives for Vice Media include its Vice Studios business, which develops and sells films and TV series to other companies. For instance, at the Sundance Film Festival, Vice Media made news for selling “The Report,” a feature film starring Adam Driver and Jon Hamm, to Amazon for $14 million. Vice was also one of the producers behind a Fyre Festival documentary series on Netflix. In total, Vice Studios has 60 projects in some stage of development, according to The New York Times.

Vice Media’s revenues were reportedly between $600 million and $650 million in 2018. The company recently also raised $250 million in debt, adding to the $1.4 billion it had raised previously. Around the same time, Disney, one of Vice’s biggest investors, wrote down another $353 million of its investments in Vice Media. Disney had put $400 million in the company, which does not include investments in Vice made by A+E Networks, which Disney has a stake in, and 21st Century Fox, which Disney now owns.

Image by Cassandra Giraldo and Vice News

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