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Chaos at Newsweek: Top editors suddenly out

Employees at Newsweek have been told that editor-in-chief Bob Roe and executive editor Ken Li have been fired, source...

Posted: Feb 6, 2018 11:24 AM
Updated: Feb 6, 2018 11:24 AM

Employees at Newsweek have been told that editor-in-chief Bob Roe and executive editor Ken Li have been fired, sources with knowledge of the situation told CNN.

A reporter, Celeste Katz, who had written articles about financial issues at the magazine as well as an investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney's office into its parent company, Newsweek Media Group, was also let go, the sources said.

Katz declined to comment to CNN but tweeted on Monday afternoon, "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!"

Staff in Newsweek's New York offices were told they could stop working and go home for the day on Monday afternoon, multiple sources said.

"Can confirm I was fired. I know nothing else. Can say nothing else yet," Roe told CNN in an email.

Li could not be reached for comment, though he tweeted, "What a day to leave my charger at home."

A spokesman for Newsweek said the company would not have any comment on personnel matters.

The news comes during a turbulent time for the magazine. Just last week the co-owner and chairman of Newsweek Media Group, Etienne Uzac, and his wife Marion Kim, who acted as the company's finance director, both stepped down.

Last month the Manhattan District Attorney's office raided the company's offices, taking several servers. Newsweek itself, in a story co-written by Katz and Josh Saul, reported that the raid was part of a long-running investigation into the company's finances.

Katz, Saul and IBT reporter Josh Keefe had all contributed to articles about the turbulence at Newsweek in recent weeks, including the resignations of Uzac and Kim. Katz had also reported on the company's chief content officer, Dayan Candappa, who was placed on leave following a BuzzFeed report into sexual harassment allegations that, BuzzFeed said, had led to Candappa's departure from Reuters. Newsweek Media Group subsequently hired an outside law firm to conduct an internal investigation.

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. But a source with knowledge of the situation told CNN that while Keefe had his email account deactivated on Monday and was told to meet with human resources, he was ultimately saved by an editor who stepped in to prevent his firing. Saul, the same source said, is on vacation and thus far has not been told that he's been fired.

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

The New York Post, citing a source close to the company, reported last month that the Manhattan DA's probe is focused on the financial connection between former Newsweek Media Group executives and a Christian college, Olivet University. Olivet said in a statement last month that it is "inaccurate" to say there is a connection between the raid and the university. Uzac, Kim and other Newsweek Media Group executives have direct ties to the university.

Uzac co-founded International Business Times, which in 2013 bought Newsweek. In 2017 the company was rebranded as Newsweek Media Group. Uzac's IBT co-founder, Jonathan Davis, is married to the president of Olivet.

Multiple sources said staffers at Newsweek are worried for their jobs and have started to reach out to their networks about other employment possibilities. Some were drinking in the office. Katz received a round of applause as she was escorted out of the newsroom, sources said.

Senior writer Matthew Cooper tendered his resignation on Monday as a result of the chaos, saying in a resignation letter obtained by CNN that he has never "seen more reckless leadership."

"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 said in the letter.

In an internal staff memo obtained by CNN, Newsweek announced that International Business Times Editor Nancy Cooper will take over as acting editor of Newsweek. The company also announced that Davis is returning to a day-to-day role at the company, becoming interim chief content officer while Candappa is on leave. The memo also said, "The company will not be commenting any further on these personnel changes at this time."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 445047

Reported Deaths: 5955
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin924911470
Ramsey39703735
Dakota32788331
Anoka30811360
Washington20004225
Stearns17775185
St. Louis13546240
Scott1189996
Wright11548102
Olmsted1035775
Sherburne815765
Carver691436
Clay648478
Rice600166
Kandiyohi552871
Blue Earth538033
Crow Wing479673
Otter Tail453464
Chisago449732
Benton416785
Winona386246
Douglas372466
Nobles366746
Mower362328
Goodhue343657
Polk327756
McLeod323144
Morrison310043
Beltrami308746
Lyon299835
Itasca282643
Becker281738
Isanti281141
Carlton278143
Steele27119
Pine265113
Freeborn241320
Todd230929
Nicollet223336
Brown213734
Mille Lacs212845
Le Sueur208515
Cass206123
Meeker198533
Waseca188816
Martin169126
Wabasha16883
Roseau165316
Hubbard148338
Redwood139227
Renville136539
Houston135313
Dodge13304
Chippewa130832
Cottonwood126518
Fillmore12215
Wadena119416
Rock109512
Sibley10797
Aitkin107133
Watonwan10618
Faribault104615
Pennington97715
Kanabec97218
Pipestone93823
Yellow Medicine93314
Murray8655
Jackson85010
Swift83018
Pope7355
Marshall70115
Stevens6978
Clearwater68514
Lac qui Parle65616
Lake62915
Wilkin6229
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Lincoln4821
Big Stone4543
Unassigned43468
Grant4257
Norman4228
Mahnomen4087
Kittson37019
Red Lake3164
Traverse2473
Lake of the Woods1801
Cook1130

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 303065

Reported Deaths: 4267
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk45335447
Linn17673274
Scott15356163
Black Hawk13648236
Woodbury12945175
Johnson1202149
Dubuque11300149
Pottawattamie8934112
Dallas881171
Story863434
Webster467471
Cerro Gordo462968
Sioux453356
Clinton448361
Warren437538
Marshall425561
Buena Vista391529
Muscatine386177
Des Moines380641
Plymouth348868
Wapello340898
Jasper319658
Lee313530
Marion301752
Jones269649
Henry263230
Carroll253034
Bremer242048
Crawford228122
Boone216217
Washington214231
Benton208544
Jackson190831
Mahaska190736
Tama185657
Dickinson184226
Delaware172236
Kossuth170543
Clay166019
Wright162724
Fayette159522
Buchanan158023
Hamilton157829
Winneshiek154819
Harrison154462
Hardin153929
Cedar151419
Clayton150748
Butler146424
Page143715
Cherokee138127
Floyd137936
Mills136016
Lyon133632
Poweshiek132324
Hancock128824
Allamakee126827
Iowa122822
Calhoun12209
Grundy120026
Jefferson119524
Madison11869
Winnebago118229
Mitchell115634
Louisa114130
Cass112541
Chickasaw110512
Emmet110231
Sac110215
Appanoose109638
Union108122
Humboldt104219
Guthrie102224
Shelby101326
Franklin101218
Unassigned9210
Palo Alto9019
Keokuk84325
Montgomery84022
Howard82519
Monroe80518
Clarke7817
Pocahontas77211
Ida73830
Greene6887
Davis68721
Adair68620
Lucas6468
Osceola6349
Monona63316
Worth5983
Taylor5919
Fremont5036
Van Buren49412
Decatur4784
Ringgold4269
Wayne41421
Audubon4108
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