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Thin-skinned media consumes it’s own as Newsweek fires top editors covering probe into parent company

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Big scalps were taken at media power house Newsweek on Monday creating chaos with the abrupt firings of the editor in chief, his deputy and three reporters who had been working on stories critical of the newsmagazine’s parent company.
Bob Roe 1.jpgOut: Editor-in-Chief Bob Roe
Ken Li 1.pngOut: Executive Editor Ken Li 
The two editors were overseeing a Newsweek investigation into the magazine parent company’s financial affairs and its possible connection to Olivet University.
Katz had been one of the leading reporters covering Newsweek Media Group.
Katz, Saul and Keefe had been writing about an ongoing  examination of the company’s finances by the Manhattan district attorney’s office. Their stories said it was a financial fraud investigation that started about a year and a half ago. Roe and Li had been closely involved in the editing of those stories, the source said.
The men were fired after they reported to work Monday morning, sources said.

Over the weekend, at least one Newsweek reporter was covering possible connection between NMG and Olivet University, a fundamentalist Christian college founded in San Francisco by followers of the controversial Korean-American pastor David Jung.
Olivet bought a piece of land in Wingdale, NY, in Dutchess County, roughly 75 miles north of Midtown Manhattan, in recent years.
The Wingdale property is the former Harlem Valley Psychiatric Center, which closed in 1994. Olivet bought it in 2014. The reporter allegedly, was in and around Wingdale talking to neighbors of the Olivet property.

Etienne Uzac 1.jpgEtienne Uzac, who founded the company that became Newsweek Media Group, stepped down as chairman, the company said Thursday.

The firings dampened staff morale as one source said: “This whole entire staff feels it’s clearly retaliatory” – Editors told staffers not to work until the company briefs them on what happened.

In addition, staffers at the International Business Times were not paid Monday as expected, leaving “The entire staff is angry, frustrated and confused”.

In recent weeks, in addition to the ongoing investigation, Newsweek placed Chief Content Officer Dayan Candappa on leave following allegations that he repeatedly sexually harassed a woman while a top official at the Reuters news agency.

The company hired a law firm to investigate Cadappa’s conduct.

Last week Wednesday, Newsweek Media Group Chairman Etienne Uzac and finance director Marion Kimre both signed from their roles.
Their resignations came less than two weeks after it was revealed that the Manhattan DA’s Major Economic Crimes bureau was investigating Uzac.

The Manhattan DA launched an ongoing probe of NMG, 17 months ago.
A report by New York Post says The probe is also focused on a potential “money trail” between former Newsweek Media Group executives and Olivet University, a California-based Christian college with close ties to company officials.
Uzac is among four top executives with connections to the school, which has denied any link to the DA’s investigation. According to federal tax records, he was the treasurer of Olivet from 2006 to 2010 and served as the school’s vice chairman in 2011.
The Newsweek headquarters was raided the by district attorney’s investigators Jan. 19 and took pictures of the company’s computer equipment in the server room.

About two dozen agents from the Manhattan DA’s office raided the Newsweek’s offices in downtown Manhattan and carted away 18 computer servers.
After buying Newsweek in 2014, the parent company, once known as the IBT Media, changed its name last April to Newsweek Media Group, taking the name of the most prominent publication of titles in its stable.

 

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