Fans of twelve-page publications covering news that happened a week ago are really bummed this week, as word of Newsweek’s corruption and downfall-in-the-making is spreading like wildfire across the Internet. I’ll surely miss seeing the ancient man next to me on the plane eyeing the full-page Cialis ads that make up ninety-percent of Newsweek, all the while wondering what this newfangled “World Wide Web” is that his grandchildren are raving about.
The news publication was recently raided by peeps from the Manhattan district attorney’s office for a seeming number of reasons including sexual abuse in the workplace as well as ad fraud and even an association with an extreme religious organization. The harassment claims led to the stepping down of the company’s chief content officer, according to NBC News, while a handful of people within Newsweek researching their own company’s corruption were abruptly let go by parent company Newsweek Media Group, and another quit out of protest. Circling, the damn, drain.
Thanks to an investigative report by, ugh, Buzzfeed News, we know that remaining sixty or so employees should probably just stick to reporting on ISIS or North Korea or whatever, because the fraudulent activity within their own company makes Walter White’s carwash look legit, and very well may lead to Newsweek’s downfall. This is why I don’t say anything at my job. My dad’s convinced I work at a drug front. And you know what so am I. Anyway, those of you who have seen International Business Times pop up on your screen after visiting a website might have been unknowingly counted in the traffic numbers for Newsweek Media Group. They own IBT, and through questionable means, were able to inflate their numbers enough to “secure a major ad buy from a US government agency:”
IBTimes.com, the publisher’s US business site, last year won a significant portion of a large video and display advertising campaign for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a federal agency. Social Puncher, a consulting firm that investigates online ad fraud, alleges in its report that the ads were displayed to an audience on IBTimes.com that includes a significant amount of ‘cheap junk traffic with a share of bots.’
Newsweek’s New York office is wracked with confusion and uncertainty this week, and on Monday employees were told to take the day off. Probably to reflect on their future joblessness. But no mass layoffs have officially occurred at the writing of this post. It’s like the execs at Newsweek Media Group saw Spotlight and thought “let’s do that, but the opposite.” A news site’s success hinges on its credibility, and the fourteen people who subscribed to Newsweek are all but certain to move on. But if it’s any consolation to the employees at Newsweek, their subscribers are all one-hundred-years-old and are going to die shortly anyway.
Photo Credit: Getty Images, IBT