Newsweek fires top editors, senior reporters

by Garry Watts February 7, 2018, 1:07
Newsweek fires top editors, senior reporters

Bob Roe, the editor-in-chief, and Kenneth Li, the executive editor, were both let go today, along with senior politics writer Celeste Katz and senior writer Josh Saul.

After the police raid on the orders of the Manhattan district attorney's office on January 18, a group of Newsweek reporters were assigned to look into their own company.

Katz thanked her colleagues via Twitter and said she was proud of her work.

"Other staffers told HuffPost they suspect those employees were fired for investigating Olivet University, a California Christian college, and its financial ties to Newsweek Media Group", they continued, adding, "Newsweek staffers gave Katz a standing ovation as she was escorted out of the offices".

In a weird twist, NMG co-founder Jonathan Davis - who was fingered in a Newsweek report for having an $800,000 federal tax lien filed against him last October - will return to the company as interim chief content officer, the company said Monday. That story was written by Katz and Saul, two of the fired employees. That staffer said senior members of Newsweek management were scheduled to meet with Newsweek Media Group CEO Dev Pragad, but the meeting has been delayed.

Newsweek's political editor has resigned over the apparent firing of the magazine's editor and two other members of the news team, with the future of the USA title - which turns 85 this year - in doubt.

Multiple sources said rumors were swirling in the newsroom that Saul and Keefe had also been fired, and other media outlets reported that they had been. They couldn't be reached for comment but sources late Monday said they remain employed at NMG, previously known as IBT Media.

One Newsweek staffer said that Newsweek Media Group has not addressed the situation in a memo or note, and that most employees have been left in the dark, scrambling to find out what happened through rumors and word-of-mouth.

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A Newsweek spokesperson did not immediately respond to questions about Keefe and Saul.

Queried by AFP, Newsweek Media Group declined to comment.

"At this moment the entire staff is angry, frustrated and confused", a source said.

Josh Keefe, a reporter with the International Business Times, has also been fired, according to sources.

Last week, BuzzFeed reported that Newsweek Media Group engaged in "fraudulent online traffic practices" when securing an online advertising agreement with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Newsweek staffers told both the Daily Beast and BuzzFeed that they were concerned the firings were in retaliation for covering the magazine's legal woes. Editors told staffers not to work until the company provided answers about the decision. Li was overseeing the coverage, and the New York Post reported that Roe was as well.

"The coup de grace comes at the end of a string of scandals and missteps during your tenure", he wrote. "It's the installation of editors, not Li and Roe, who recklessly sought clicks at the expense of accuracy, retweets over fairness, that leaves me most despondent not only for Newsweek but for other publications that don't heed the lessons of this publication's fall", Cooper wrote.

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