Newsweek, once one of the world’s premiere newsweeklies covering global politics and economics, is drowning in a sea of its own bad news.
The magazine’s offices were raided last month by investigators from the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, and its chief content officer stepped down after sex harassment allegations. Now, some of its 60 New York-based employees are voicing fears about their long-term job security.
The company had recently been the subject of reporting from BuzzFeed that alleged the websites under Newsweek Media Group had artificially inflated traffic numbers for its websites in order to attract advertisers.
Some of Newsweek’s own journalists had been investigating why the Manhattan DA had raided their offices. On Monday, management of Newsweek Media Group fired the magazine’s top editors and a reporter, all of whom were in the midst of reporting on the legal troubles of their employer.
Two sources at the magazine, who did not wish to be named because of legal ramifications, confirmed that editor Bob Roe and executive news director Ken Li have been fired. The news of the firings were first reported by CNN.
Reporter Celeste Katz was also let go. Katz confirmed her departure in a tweet.
My warmest thanks to the brave Newsweek editors and colleagues who supported and shared in my work — especially our recent, difficult stories about the magazine itself — before my dismissal today. I’ll sleep well tonight… and I’m looking for a job! ✌️ https://t.co/FL8UwztImI
— Celeste Katz (@CelesteKatzNYC) February 5, 2018
Katz declined further comment on the phone, referring simply to the tweet.
Another staffer, political editor Matthew Cooper, resigned in protest, citing his lack of faith in the company’s management and posting his resignation letter on Twitter.
“I’m resigning from Newsweek at the end of business today, February 5, although perhaps that’s moot since the staff has been sent home and the magazine, for all we know, doesn’t exist,” Cooper wrote.
Mark Lappin, director of communications at Newsweek Media Group, said the company didn’t comment on personnel matters.
The editorial departures come just a week after Newsweek’s own report that Etienne Uzac, Newsweek Media Group’s co-owner and chairman, and his wife Marion Kim, who was director of finance, stepped down following the raid by New York authorities.
Monday’s firings come in the midst of a reporting project aimed at figuring out why the Manhattan District Attorney’s office had seized the company’s servers and questions about the state of the company’s finances.
Katz had reported for Newsweek on the raid of the magazine. Other outlets including Mother Jones have reported on connections between the magazine’s owners and a controversial church figure, David Jang, who is also reportedly involved with Olivet University, a Christian college in California. The company denied financial connections between Newsweek and Olivet.