The Gray Lady: Objective Gloating about Vice

May 15, 2023

Vea4_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_tNote: This essay is the work of a real and still-alive dinobaby. No smart software involved, just a dumb humanoid.

Do you have dreams about the church lady on Saturday Night Live. That skit frightened me. A flashback shook my placid mental state when I read “Vice, Decayed Digital Colossus, Files for Bankruptcy.” I conjured up without the assistance of smart software, the image of Dana Carvey talking about the pundit spawning machine named Vice with the statement, “Well, isn’t that special?”

The New York Times’s article reported:

Vice Media filed for bankruptcy on Monday, punctuating a years long descent from a new-media darling to a cautionary tale of the problems facing the digital publishing industry.

The write up omits any reference to the New York Times’s failure with its own online venture under the guidance of Jeff Pemberton, the flame out with its LexisNexis play, the fraught effort to index its own content, and the misadventures which have become the Wordle success story. The past Don Quixote-like sallies into the digital world are either Irrelevant or unknown to the current crop of Gray Lady “real” news hounds I surmise.

The article states:

Investments from media titans like Disney and shrewd financial investors like TPG, which spent hundreds of millions of dollars, will
be rendered worthless by the bankruptcy, cementing Vice’s status among the most notable bad bets in the media industry. [Emphasis added.]

Well, isn’t that special? Perhaps similar to the Times’s first online adventure in the late 1970s?

The article includes a quote from a community journalism company too:

“We now know that a brand tethered to social media for its growth and audience alone is not sustainable.”

Perhaps like the desire for more money than the Times’s LexisNexis deal provided? Perhaps?

Is Vice that special? I think the story is a footnote to the Gray Lady’s own adventures in the digital realm?

Isn’t that special too?

Stephen E Arnold, May 15, 2023


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