Newsweek has fired several top editors and reporters in the midst of legal problems and widespread turmoil in the newsroom, according to staffers familiar with the decision.
The magazine's news director, Cristina Silvia, announced in a staff meeting that editor in chief Bob Roe, executive editor Ken Li, reporters Celeste Katz and Josh Saul, and International Business Times editor Josh Keefe had all been fired, the Daily Beast reported Monday.
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The firings come after Newsweek was accused of buying fraudulent web traffic to trick the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau into buying ad space, and after the Manhattan District Attorney's office raided the company's headquarters in January.
Unusually, Newsweek journalists themselves reported the raid was part of a longtime grand jury investigation into the company's finances, and that the probe was likely looking at loans taken out to purchase 18 unused servers. That story was written by Katz and Saul, two of the fired employees.
Weeks later, the magazine reported that the chairman and finance director of its parent company, Newsweek Media Group, had stepped down over the financial scandal. Once again, Katz, Saul, and Keefe were all bylined on the story.
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. Staffers in the New York office initially withheld work while waiting for more of an explanation, and many were told they could go home for the day.
"There's no official instruction or organized effort to withhold work, it's just sad, scared people waiting to hear more," said one staffer.