Newsweek Fires Journalists Who Reported on Magazine's Legal Troubles

Two of Newsweek's top editors - editor in chief Bob Roe and executive editor Kenneth Li - were abruptly fired from the company on Monday, along with reporter Celeste Katz.

Newsweek has been in a gathering cloud of controversy, especially since January 18, when dozens of investigators from the Manhattan District Attorney's office raided the site's Lower Manhattan offices - and left hours later with 18 computer servers.

After her dismissal, Katz tweeted: "My warmest thanks to the courageous Newsweek editors and colleagues who supported and shared in my work - especially our recent, hard stories about the magazine itself - before my dismissal today".

An anonymous source told the Wrap that amid Cooper's resignation, staff were given the rest of the day off and were "downloading their articles off the website, talking with their sources and transferring their work contacts".

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.

That staffer said that there had been conversations among some employees about whether there was a way to make a statement to Newsweek Media Group to express solidarity with their co-workers who were fired Monday. It was rebranded as the Newsweek Media Group in 2017.

Roe has been replaced by International Business Times Managing Editor Nancy Cooper.

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.

Three staffers told Mic that both Roe and Li had been supportive of Katz's and Saul's reporting on the tumultuous developments at Newsweek Media Group in the past two months.

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Matthew Cooper, a senior writer at Newsweek, resigned from the company in protest of the firings.

It is focused on, what Katz, Saul and Keefe reported, was a possible "money trail" between former Newsweek Media Group executives and Olivet University, a Christian college in California. Uzac, Kim and other Newsweek Media Group executives have direct ties to the university.

'The entire staff is angry, frustrated and confused, ' the source said.

Newsweek did not respond to reporters' requests for comment.

Newsweek declined to comment on "personnel matters" to The Washington Post, but at least one person familiar with the matter said that internally, the pieces were easy to put together: "These reporters and editors had launched an investigation", the person said, "and now they're no longer there".

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.

"We have been doing good work under an editorial staff that has been working hard to protect us", that staffer told Mic.

The firings were just the latest signs of trouble at Newsweek. "This coup d'grace comes at the end of a string of scandals and missteps during your tenure".

He added, "Leaving aside the police raid and the harassment scandal, 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".

  • Sonia Alvarado