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Newsweek Publishes Damning Report on Its Own Company After Firings, Internal Turmoil

Inner turmoil within Newsweek continues to surface as the magazine published an article they admittedly fired multiple staffers over.

The report focused on Newsweek‘s parent company Newsweek Media Group and its peculiar relationship with Olivet University, a Christian school based in California and how numerous leaders of NMG were affiliated with the university’s efforts to expand in New York. Newsweek reportedly offered free advertising to county officials.

Per the report:

County leaders accepted the offer. And over the course of three months last year, Newsweek ran 10 full-page spots—worth about $149,000, according to the publication’s ad rates—promoting Hudson Valley Regional Airport and Dutchess County tourism, all free of charge at a time when the magazine’s parent company was in financial distress.

The previously unreported arrangement provides a window into the relationship between Olivet and Newsweek Media Group, the financial ties of which the Manhattan district attorney’s office is now scrutinizing as part of a long-running fraud probe, according to sources with knowledge of the investigation.

There is speculation whether or not this was tied to the Manhattan DA’s ongoing probe into possible corruption at the magazine. Their offices were raided last month and their servers were seized by investigators.

The staffers who worked on the report faced so much resistance from upper management that they threatened to resign if their report wasn’t published.

The article begins with the following editor’s note:

As we were reporting this story, Newsweek Media Group fired Newsweek Editor Bob Roe, Executive Editor Ken Li and Senior Politics Reporter Celeste Katz for doing their jobs. Reporters Josh Keefe and Josh Saul were targeted for firing before an editor persuaded the company to reverse its decision. As we continued working on the story, we were asked to take part in a review process which, we ultimately learned, involved egregious breaches of confidentiality and journalism ethics. We believe that subjects of the story were shown parts of the draft, if not the entire piece, prior to publication by a company executive who should not have been involved in the process. At an on-the-record interview with the subjects of this story, a company official asked editors to identify confidential sources. On-the-record sources were contacted and questioned about their discussions with Newsweek Media Group reporters. We resisted their efforts to influence the story and, after learning of the review’s ethical failings, the reporters and editors involved in this story felt they would be forced to resign. At that point, a senior Newsweek Media Group executive said the company’s owners would ensure independent review and newsroom autonomy going forward. This story was written and edited Tuesday, free of interference from company executives.

According to The Daily Beast, reporters were demanded to “water down or remove” the financial problems at NMG and its relationship with the university.

“We were asked to take part in a review process which, we ultimately learned, involved egregious breaches of confidentiality and journalism ethics,” the group of journalists said. “We believe that subjects of the story were shown parts of the draft, if not the entire piece, prior to publication by a company executive who should not have been involved in the process.”

Cristina Silva, Newsweek’s news director, took to Twitter late Tuesday night to express her uncertainty of her future with the company.

Newsweek has made numerous headlines in recent weeks over major firings and how insiders are growing disdain for the magazine’s current business model.

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