Vice (magazine)

Vice is a Canadian-American print magazine focused on lifestyle, arts, culture, and news/politics. Founded in 1994 in Montreal as an alternative punk magazine, the founders later launched the youth media company Vice Media, which consists of divisions including the magazine as well as a website, broadcast news unit, a film production company, a record label, and a publishing imprint. As of February 2018, the magazine's editor-in-chief is Ellis Jones.[2][3]

The Syria Issue (November 2012)
Editor-in-chiefEllis Jones
Circulation900,000 (worldwide)
80,000 (UK)[1]
PublisherVice Media
FounderSuroosh Alvi, Shane Smith, Gavin McInnes
First issueOctober 1994 (1994-10) (as Voice of Montreal)
Based inNew York, New York, U.S.


Founded by Suroosh Alvi, Gavin McInnes and Shane Smith,[4] the magazine was launched in 1994 as the Voice of Montreal with government funding. The intention of the founders was to provide work and a community service.[5] When the editors later sought to dissolve their commitments with the original publisher Alix Laurent, they bought him out and changed the name to Vice in 1996.[6]

Richard Szalwinski, a Canadian software millionaire, acquired the magazine and relocated the operation to New York City in the late 1990s. Following the relocation, the magazine quickly developed a reputation for provocative and politically incorrect content. Under Szalwinski's ownership, a few retail stores were opened in New York City and customers could purchase fashion items that were advertised in the magazine. However, due to the end of the dot-com bubble, the three founders eventually regained ownership of the Vice brand, followed by closure of the stores.[4]

The British edition of Vice was launched in 2002 and Andy Capper was its first editor. Capper explained in an interview shortly after the UK debut that the publication's remit was to cover "the things we're meant to be ashamed of", and articles were published on topics such as bukkake and bodily functions.[7]

By the end of 2007, 13 foreign editions of Vice magazine were published, the Vice independent record label was functional, and the online video channel had 184,000 unique viewers from the U.S. during the month of August. The media company was still based in New York City, but the magazine began featuring articles on topics that were considered more serious, such as armed conflict in Iraq, than previous content. Alvi explained to The New York Times in November 2007: "The world is much bigger than the Lower East Side and the East Village."[4]

McInnes left the publication in 2008, citing "creative differences" as the primary issue. In an email communication dated 23 January, McInnes explained: "I no longer have anything to do with Vice or VBS or DOs & DON'Ts or any of that. It's a long story but we've all agreed to leave it at 'creative differences,' so please don't ask me about it."[8]

At the commencement of 2012, an article in Forbes magazine referred to the Vice company as "Vice Media", but the precise time when this title development occurred is not public knowledge.[9] Vice acquired the fashion magazine i-D in December 2012 and, by February 2013, Vice produced 24 global editions of the magazine, with a global circulation of 1,147,000 (100,000 in the UK). By this stage, Alex Miller had replaced Capper as the editor-in-chief of the UK edition. Furthermore, Vice consisted of 800 worldwide employees, including 100 in London, and around 3,500 freelancers also produced content for the company.[7]




Vice magazine includes the work of journalists, columnists, fiction writers, graphic artists and cartoonists, and photographers. Both Vice's online and magazine content has shifted from dealing mostly with independent arts and pop cultural matters to covering more serious news topics. Due to the large array of contributors and the fact that often writers will only submit a small number of articles with the publication, Vice's content varies dramatically and its political and cultural stance is often unclear or contradictory. Articles on the site feature a range of subjects, often things not covered as by mainstream media. The magazine's editors have championed the immersionist school of journalism, which has been passed to other properties of Vice Media such as the documentary television show Balls Deep on the Viceland Channel. This style of journalism is regarded as something of a DIY antithesis to the methods practiced by mainstream news outlets, and has published an entire issue of articles written in accordance with this ethos. Entire issues of the magazine have also been dedicated to the concerns of Iraqi people,[13] Native Americans,[14] Russian people,[15] people with mental disorders,[16] and people with mental disabilities.[17] Vice also publishes an annual guide for students in the United Kingdom.[18]

In 2007, a Vice announcement was published on the Internet:

After umpteen years of putting out what amounted to a reference book every month, we started to get bored with it. Besides, too many other magazines have ripped it and started doing their own lame take on themes. So we're going to do some issues, starting now, that have whatever we feel like putting in them.[19]


In a March 2008 interview with The Guardian, Smith was asked about the magazine's political allegiances and he stated, "We're not trying to say anything politically in a paradigmatic left/right way… We don't do that because we don't believe in either side. Are my politics Democrat or Republican? I think both are horrific. And it doesn't matter anyway. Money runs America; money runs everywhere."[5]

OwnerVice Media
Alexa rank 196 (June 2019)[20]
Current statusActive

Vice founded its website as in 1996, as was already owned. In 2007, it started as a domain, which prioritized videos over print, and had a number of shows for free such as The Vice Guide to Travel. In 2011, and were combined into,[21] also the host of the Vice Motherboard website at[22]

In 2012, Vice Media was created as the parent company for Vice Magazine and other properties including Vice News on HBO and the website.[23] The company has since expanded and diversified to include a network of online channels, including,,,, and Broadly.[24]


From its beginnings as Voice of Montreal, Vice had a "reputation for provocation."[25] In 2010, Vice was described as "gonzo journalism for the YouTube generation."[26] As the magazine grew into a broader media brand, it struggled with "how to distance itself from its crude past, yet hold on to enough of that reputation to cement, and grow, its authority with its core audience."[27] Nevertheless, the magazine has continued to face controversy. In 2013, the magazine retracted parts of a fashion spread entitled 'Last Words' which depicted "female writers killing themselves."[28][27] Also in 2013, Vice again courted controversy when the then-editor of the magazine joined millionaire software mogul John McAfee as he evaded authorities to avoid being questioned about a murder case.[25]

Sexual harassment at Vice

In the fall of 2017, a number of stories were published citing allegations of sexual misconduct and a general "boys club" culture at Vice Magazine's parent company, Vice Media.[29][30][31]


  • Wins
    • ASME Reader's Choice Best Cover Contest for "Best Travel and Adventure" for June 2017 issue[32]
    • ASME Reader's Choice Best Cover Contest for "Most Delicious" for March 2016 issue[33]
    • ASME Anthology of Best American Magazine Writing for "Fixing the System" interview, 2016[34]
    • ASME Reader's Choice Award for New and Politics Cover, 2015[35]
    • ASME Reader's Choice Award for Business and Tech Cover, 2015[36]
    • Ranked number 9 on Ad Age Magazine A-list (first free publication to be recognized), 2010[37]
  • Nominations
    • GLAAD Media Award, Outstanding Magazine Article for "On the Run," 2017[38]
    • ASME Single Topic Issue for the Prison Issue, 2016[39]
    • ASME Feature Photography for "Deep-Fried America on a Stick," 2014[40]
    • ASME General Excellence for July, November and December issues, 2012[41]

See also


  1. Tom Horan (15 July 2006). "From chic to cheek". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
  2. Sterne, Peter (11 February 2015). "Vice E.I.C. Rocco Castoro out at Vice". Capital New York. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
  3. "Vice Media Settled With 4 Women Over Sexual Harassment, Defamation". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  4. Robert Levine (19 November 2007). "A Guerrilla Video Site Meets MTV". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  5. Wilkinson, Carl (30 March 2008). "The Vice Squad". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 30 January 2009.
  6. Jeff Bercovici (3 January 2012). "Vice's Shane Smith on What's Wrong With Canada, Facebook and Occupy Wall Street". Forbes. LLC. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
  7. Andrew Pugh (28 February 2013). "'Maybe we've grown up': Ten years on, how Vice magazine got serious". Press Gazette. Progressive Media International. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  8. "Co-Founder Gavin McInnes Finally Leaves 'Vice'". Gawker. Gawker. 23 January 2008. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  9. Jeff Bercovici (3 January 2012). "Tom Freston's $1 Billion Revenge: Ex-Viacom Chief Helps Vice Become the Next MTV". Forbes. Forbes, LLC. Retrieved 8 November 2014.
  10. "Shane Smith sees a 'perfect storm' coming for the press". Poynter. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  11. "Vice Media's brash CEO resigns, A+E Networks chief steps up". NBC News. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  12. "Is Vice Getting Nice?". Daily Intelligencer. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  13. "The Iraq Issue". Vice. Archived from the original on 23 May 2011. Retrieved 28 January 2009.
  14. "The Native Issue". Vice. Archived from the original on 25 July 2008. Retrieved 28 January 2009.
  15. "The Russia Issue". Vice. Archived from the original on 7 January 2009. Retrieved 28 January 2009.
  16. "The Mentally Ill Issue". Vice. Archived from the original on 23 May 2011. Retrieved 28 January 2009.
  17. "The Special Issue". Vice. Archived from the original on 21 November 2008. Retrieved 28 January 2009.
  18. "Student Guide". Vice. Archived from the original on 6 October 2008. Retrieved 10 March 2009.
  19. "Dear Vice Readers!". Vice. 11 April 2007. Archived from the original on 23 August 2008. Retrieved 1 July 2008.
  20. " Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  21. Castoro, Rocco (2012). "Finally, All Our Crap Is in One Place". Vice. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  22. "About Motherboard". Vice Media. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  23. "Vice's Shane Smith and Tom Freston on Sending Dennis Rodman to North Korea for HBO". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  24. "Broadly – About". Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  25. Widdicombe, Lizzie (1 April 2013). "The Bad-Boy Brand". The New Yorker. ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
  26. Williams, Alex (16 August 2010). "Up Close With Shane Smith". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
  27. "The cult of Vice". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
  28. ""Last Words": A Statement from VICE". Vice. 13 June 2013. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
  29. Steel, Emily (23 December 2017). "At Vice, Cutting-Edge Media and Allegations of Old-School Sexual Harassment". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  30. Wallenstein, Andrew (23 December 2017). "Vice Media Admits 'We Failed' to Curb Sexual Harassment at Company". Variety. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  31. Jarvey, Natalie (23 December 2017). "Vice Media Settled With 4 Women Over Sexual Harassment, Defamation". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  32. "ASME Best Cover Contest 2018 Winners & Finalists | ASME". Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  33. "Best Cover Contest 2017 Winners & Finalists | ASME". Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  34. "Best American Magazine Writing | ASME". Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  35. "Best Cover Contest 2015 Winners & Finalists | ASME". Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  36. "Best Cover Contest 2015 Winners & Finalists | ASME". Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  37. "Magazine A-List 2010 - AdAge". Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  38. "Moonlight, The OA, and Frank Ocean Among GLAAD Media Awards Nominees". Vulture. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  39. "Ellies 2016 Finalists Announced | ASME". Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  40. "National Magazine Awards 2014 Finalists Announced | ASME". Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  41. "National Magazine Awards 2012 Finalists Announced | ASME". Retrieved 27 April 2018.

Further reading

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