Shane Smith (journalist)

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Shane Smith
Smith in 2014
Born (1969-09-28) 28 September 1969 (age 54)
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Alma materLisgar Collegiate Institute
Carleton University
Occupation(s)Entrepreneur, media executive, journalist
Known forVice Media co-founder
SpouseTamyka (2009-2021)
RelativesSean Smith, Patricia Reilly, Fiona Smith

Shane Smith (born 28 September 1969) is a Canadian media executive and former billionaire.[1][2] He is executive chairman of the international media company Vice Media, operating an international network of digital channels, a television production studio, a record label, an in-house creative services agency, a book-publishing house, and a feature film division. Smith served as CEO of Vice from its founding until March 2018.[3] Former A+E Networks CEO Nancy Dubuc was named CEO 13 March 2018. In his role as Executive Chairman, "Smith will now be focused on creating content and strategic deals and partnerships to help grow the company."[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Shane Smith was born in Ottawa, Ontario, in 1969. He attended the Lisgar Collegiate Institute and later graduated from Carleton University with a degree in English literature and political science.[5]

Before Vice, Smith went to university in Ottawa, played in local punk bands, and travelled around Eastern Europe before moving to Montreal.[6][7]


Smith, Suroosh Alvi, and Smith's childhood friend[8] Gavin McInnes founded the youth magazine Voice of Montreal in 1994[9] and changed its name to Vice in 1996 after they bought out their publisher. The magazine was originally funded by the Government of Canada as part of a welfare program.[10] After being acquired in 1999 and moving to New York City, Smith and his co-founders bought VICE back and moved to Williamsburg, Brooklyn in 2001.[11] Initially publishing print articles based on offbeat alternative culture, VICE moved to creating news content and social criticism on multiple media platforms in 2006. Smith remains an owner of the company, and The New York Times has described Smith as "a cross between a punk rocker and Fortune 500 Executive".[1]

In 2006, on the advice from the company's creative director Spike Jonze, VICE Media began expanding into digital video. This led to a massive expansion of VICE into new channels, including a partnership with Intel in 2010 for The Creators Project, as well as deals with partners like Viacom, YouTube,[12] and HBO, led by Smith.

Shane Smith of Vice Media during Mobile World Congress 2017

In April 2013, VICE started a new series with HBO, "VICE", in which Smith and other VICE correspondents cover news stories from around the globe. The show's second season won an Emmy for Outstanding Informational Series or Special.[13] The show was picked up for two more 14-episode seasons by HBO in May 2014, which aired in 2015 and 2016.[14] Based on the success of the weekly show, in 2015 HBO and VICE announced an expanded deal including a daily news show on HBO Now premiering in 2016, 32 VICE-produced specials over four years, and an expansion of the existing show from 14 to nearly 30 episodes per year. "VICE" started its 5th season of weekly broadcasts on HBO under the expanded episode deal on Friday, 24 February 2017.[15]

In 2015, VICE partnered with several companies, including Verizon,[16] Rogers Communications, Live Nation, Spotify and Snapchat, where VICE was a launch partner for Snapchat's "Discover" platform.[17]


As a journalist Smith has travelled to locations including North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan, Libya, Kashmir, Liberia, Sudan, and Greenland, initially for the 2006 online TV series VICE Guide to Travel.[1] Smith has continued to serve as a correspondent for VICE, appearing in online content as well as the host of VICE's HBO show and VICE Special Reports.

In 2015, Smith accompanied US President Barack Obama as part of the president's first historic visit to a federal prison,[18] interviewing Obama along with five non-violent drug offenders at El Reno Prison. He also conducted the first public interview with the Eagles of Death Metal following the 2015 terrorist shooting at their show at the Bataclan in Paris that left 89 dead.[19]

On 9 December 2016, HBO broadcast "Vice Special Report: A House Divided", which explores the political dysfunction in the United States during the Obama presidency. The 75-minute program features Smith interviewing influential US politicians including President Obama, former Speaker of the House John Boehner and former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor to understand the development of excessive polarization and gridlock, culminating in the 2016 presidential election.[20][21] It was nominated for an Emmy award.

Partnerships and investors[edit]

In June 2014, it was reported that Time Warner was negotiating to acquire a minority stake in VICE Media; among the company's plans were to give Vice Media control over the programming of HLN—a spin-off network of CNN which had recently struggled in its attempts to re-focus itself as a younger-skewing, social media-oriented news service. However, the deal fell through as the companies were unable to agree on a proper valuation, and VICE Media partnered with A&E Networks for a 10% minority stake in VICE Media for $250 million, keeping VICE Media independent.[22] The following April, it was announced that A&E's channel H2 would be rebranded as VICELAND,[23] a lifestyle channel aimed at millennials. On 29 February 2016, VICE Media officially launched VICELAND with investment support by Disney and A&E.[24] Disney has since increased their stake in VICE Media through A&E with two $200 million investments—the first in November 2015, followed by the second a week later in December 2015—for a roughly 10% stake to assist in funding programming and growth.[25]

Smith, in interviews, has mentioned the possibility of VICE going public, saying in a 2015 interview: "There hasn't been a media company like this to go public in 15 years… the markets would love it", and he told CNBC in 2016 that "it's the best time in history to be a content creator."[26][27]

On 22 June 2016, VICE Media unveiled a number of international deals that, by the end of 2017, will make its programs available in over 50 new territories, over 80 in total.[28][29]

In 2015, Canadian Business placed him on "Canada's Richest People", claiming his net worth to be at $1.27 billion.[26]

Personal life[edit]

From 2016, Smith resided in Santa Monica, California, with his wife, Tamyka, and his three daughters.[7][30]

In 2021, his wife Tamyka filed for divorce.[31][32]


  • 2019: The Report (executive producer)
  • 2017: The Bad Batch (executive producer)[33]
  • 2016: "Vice Special Report: A House Divided" (host, executive producer)
  • 2016: Vice Guide to Film (executive producer)
  • 2016: Terror (executive producer)
  • 2016: Abandoned (executive producer)
  • 2016: Cyberwar (executive producer)
  • 2016: Dead Set on Life (executive producer)
  • 2015: "Contamination Nation" (executive producer)
  • 2015: "The Gangs of El Salvador" (executive producer)
  • 2014: Shot: The Mick Rock Documentary (executive producer)
  • 2014: Fishing Without Nets (executive producer)
  • 2013–Present: VICE News (TV Series documentary) (executive producer)
  • 2013–Present: VICE (writer, correspondent, executive producer)
  • 2011: The VICE Guide To Everything (correspondent, executive producer)
  • 2009: White Lightnin' (screenplay)
  • 2007: Heavy Metal In Baghdad (executive producer)
  • 2006: VICE Guide to Travel (writer, correspondent, executive producer, director, creator)


Smith's work on VICE's HBO show won him an Emmy award in 2014, as well as a number of environmental awards for his work covering global warming in Greenland, Antarctica and beyond. He has also been honoured with a Frank Stanton Award for Excellence in Communication,[34] an LA Press Club Award,[35] and two Peabody awards [36] for serving as executive producer of VICE News' documentaries "The Islamic State" and "Last Chance High".

  • 2016: Cannes Lions Media Person of the Year[37]
  • 2015: Peabody Award - VICE News segment, "The Islamic State"[38]
  • 2015: Peabody Award - VICE News segment, "Last Chance High"[38]
  • 2015: Environmental Media Association Award for Best Reality Television Program - VICE on HBO, "Our Rising Oceans"[39]
  • 2015: Advertising Age Creativity 50 All Stars[40]
  • 2015: Frank Stanton Award for Excellence in Communication[41]
  • 2015: Los Angeles Press Club Public Service Award In Journalism[42]
  • 2014: Emmy Award for Outstanding Informational Series or Special - VICE on HBO[43]
  • 2014: VICE Media ranked Fast Company's Number 3 Most Innovative Media Company[44]
  • 2014: Environmental Media Association Award Nomination for Best Reality Television Program - VICE on HBO, "Greenland is Melting"[45]
  • 2014: Brand Genius Award[46]
  • 2014: Knight Innovation Award[47]
  • 2013: VICE Media named Ad Age's Publishing Company of the Year[48]
  • 2010: VICE Magazine named to Ad Age Magazine A-List (first free publication to be recognized)[49]


  1. ^ a b c Alex Williams (16 August 2010). "A Wild Man Grows Up (Just Enough)". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 July 2012.
  2. ^ "Vice closes in on convergence between media and telcos with eight major mobile video deals". The Drum. Retrieved 7 March 2017.
  3. ^ Hagey, Keach (13 March 2018). "Vice Media's Shane Smith Passes CEO Title to A+E's Nancy Dubuc". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  4. ^ "Vice Media Names Nancy Dubuc as CEO, Replacing Shane Smith". TheWrap. 13 March 2018. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  5. ^ "Shane Smith Bio". Archived from the original on 13 January 2015. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  6. ^ Garrahan, M. (28 December 2012). "Lunch with the FT: Shane Smith". Financial Times.
  7. ^ a b Goldman, Andrew (6 September 2016). "L.A. Vice: Inside Media Mogul Shane Smith's Santa Monica Estate". Wall Street Journal.
  8. ^ "Short Film about Vice Magazine's move to NYC in 1999". YouTube. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  9. ^ Wilkinson, Carl (30 March 2008). "Carl Wilkinson on how teen-zine Vice finally grew up". the Guardian.
  10. ^ Yakowicz, Will (24 November 2014). "Vice Media: From Voice of Montreal to Voice of the Millennial Generation".
  11. ^ "How a little magazine called VICE conquered the media world: Welcome to Viceland". Montreal Gazette. 27 February 2016. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  12. ^ Erin Griffith. "Why YouTube is spending mega ad dollars to promote Vice News". Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  13. ^ "VICE Earns Its First Emmy". Archived from the original on 4 December 2014. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  14. ^ The Deadline Team (7 May 2014). "'Vice' Renewed: HBO Orders Seasons 3 & 4 - Deadline". Deadline. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  15. ^ Desk, TV News. "Emmy-Winning News Magazine VICE Returns to HBO for Season 5, 2/24". Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  16. ^ Emily Steel (14 July 2015). "Verizon to Add Vice Content to Its Coming Mobile Video Service". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  17. ^ Natalie Jarvey. "Snapchat Launches Discover With CNN, ESPN, Vice and More". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  18. ^ Michael Calderone (22 September 2015). "Vice Went To Prison With Obama. Now It's Going Deep Into Inmate Issues". HuffPost. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  19. ^ VICE Staff. "Eagles of Death Metal Discuss Paris Terror Attacks". Archived from the original on 11 January 2016. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  20. ^ Steinberg, Brian (7 December 2016). "Vice's Latest Documentary Takes Journey to Strange Land: Washington, D.C." Variety. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  21. ^ "Shane Smith Likens Early Obama Years to Trump's 2017 With Vice's 'A House Divided'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  22. ^ "Time Warner Ends Negotiations to Buy Stake in Vice Media". HuffPost. 29 August 2014. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  23. ^ Paul Bond (29 August 2014). "A&E Networks Buying Minority Stake in Vice Media". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  24. ^ Hale, Mike (28 February 2016). "Viceland, a New Cable Channel, Aims to Stand Out". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  25. ^ Sydney Ember (8 December 2015). "Disney Invests $200 Million More in Vice Media to Support New Programming". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  26. ^ a b "Canada's Richest People: Shane Smith". 24 December 2015. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  27. ^ Matthew Garrahan (15 May 2015). "Vice goes to Cuba". FT Magazine (paywall). Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  28. ^ Alpert, Lukas I. (22 June 2016). "Vice Media to Expand in Dozens of New International Markets". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  29. ^ "Vice Media Unveils Expansion Into Russia, Eastern Europe". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  30. ^ BOWMAN, WENDY (20 April 2021). "Vice Media's Shane Smith Sells Santa Monica Estate for Nearly $49M". Hollywood Reporter.
  31. ^ Mike Walters (6 April 2021). "'Vice' Founder Shane Smith's Wife, Tamyka, Files For Divorce". Blast.
  32. ^ LEITH GOLLNER, Adam (29 June 2021). "The Secret History of Gavin McInnes". Vanity Fair. In April, Smith's wife, Tamyka, filed for divorce
  33. ^ "Shane Smith". IMDb. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  34. ^ "Frank Stanton Award". Archived from the original on 20 January 2016. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  35. ^ "Shane Smith and Vice to Receive Los Angeles Press Club's 2015 Public Service Award In Journalism". 18 May 2006. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  36. ^ Jason Mojica (20 April 2015). "VICE News Wins Two Peabody Awards". Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  37. ^ "VICE'S Shane Smith Named Media Person of the Year". Cannes Lions. March 21, 2016. Archived from the original on July 9, 2016. Retrieved June 30, 2016.
  38. ^ a b "VICE News Wins Two Peabody Awards". VICE News. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  39. ^ "2015 Environmental Media Association Award Nominations Announced—See the Complete List of Nominees". E!. 2 September 2015. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  40. ^ Diaz, Ann-Christine. "Creativity 50 2015 All Stars: Shane Smith and Eddy Moretti". Advertising Age. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  41. ^ "CENTER FOR COMMUNICATION HONORS SHANE SMITH, CO-FOUNDER & CEO OF VICE". Center For Communication. Archived from the original on 23 December 2015. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  42. ^ "CShane Smith and Vice to Receive Los Angeles Press Club's 2015 Public Service Award In Journalism". LA Press Club. 18 May 2006. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  43. ^ "Vice". Television Academy. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  44. ^ Kamenetz, Anya. "Most Innovative Companies - Media". Mansueto Ventures, LLC. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  45. ^ Harrison, Lily (9 September 2014). "014 Environmental Media Association Awards: Nominees for the EMA Digital Video Award Announced!". E! Entertainment Television, LLC. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  46. ^ Bazilian, Emma. "How Shane Smith Built Vice Into a $2.5 Billion Empire 2014 Brand Genius winner for media". Adweek. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  47. ^ "Vice Media's Shane Smith to receive Knight Innovation Award on Dec. 1 at CUNY media innovation summit". John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Archived from the original on 8 November 2014. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  48. ^ Dumenco, Simon; Toure, Malika. "Ad Age's Magazine A-List: Vice Media is Publishing Company of the Year". Advertising Age. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  49. ^ Dumenco, Simon. "Vice Is No. 9 on Ad Age's Magazine A-List". Advertising Age. Retrieved 7 November 2014.

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