A group of Newsweek editors have accused the company of trying to silence a journalistic inquiry into the company’s business practices. Two editors and a reporter were reportedly fired after covering a legal probe into Newsweek’s parent company.
The editors penned a note to their readers, explaining what happened. Senior editors Ken Li and Bob Roe and veteran reporter Celeste Katz have lost their jobs after covering a story about a “long-running fraud probe” into Newsweek’s financial ties with a New York university.
According to the editors, Newsweek Media Group decided to fire the three employees for virtually “doing their jobs”. The company would have liked to see two other reporters gone if another editor hadn’t defended them.
The controversial story claims that Newsweek Media Group has a long history of illegal financial ties to California’s Olivet University, which two years ago opened a campus in Dover, New York.
Newsweek’s Shady Financial Ties with University
The university allegedly gave Dover County officials free advertising in the publication in exchange for the construction permit for the campus and tax breaks. Last year, two county agencies benefited from $149,000 worth of advertising in Newsweek, according to the report.
According to the newspaper, Manhattan district attorney’s office has launched a probe into the financial ties between the media group and the school.
The fired editors accuse the company of intervening many times in the story which led to major breaches of journalistic integrity and confidentiality. One of the company’s executives reportedly showed college officials a draft of the story before it was published.
Also, editors were asked to unveil the names of their sources, who were then contacted by Newsweek executives and asked about what they had discussed with the reporters.
The pressure was so high that the reporters and editors behind the story felt that the company would force them to resign.
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