International Business Times UK went eight days without a new story being uploaded on its website after almost its entire UK news team – about a dozen journalists – was made redundant last month.
The website, owned by Newsweek Media Group, appears to be sustaining itself with a handful of stories uploaded from news agencies and the occasional “staff reporter” byline.
Three new stories with Associated Press bylines were uploaded to the IB Times UK website’s homepage after Press Gazette approached NMG for comment for this story on Friday last week.
While the homepage, UK, World and Business sections have been updated this month, the Science, Sport, Entertainment, and Opinion sections have not been updated since March.
Some articles have been “updated” to show an April time stamp at the top, but scrolling to the bottom reveals their original publication date.
From 29 March to 5 April, no new stories were uploaded to the IB Times UK website and no tweets were sent from its official Twitter account.
Of the tweets with links to new stories sent since 6 April, eight articles were credited to Associated Press, two were from Reuters and one was credited to a staff reporter (correct at the time of writing).
It is understood that staff in Bangalore, India who used to write for IB Times UK have either been made redundant or moved to work on the US website – although the numbers affected are unclear.
NMG said it was making a “small number of lay-offs” as it merged the UK and US IB Times operations into one team under global editor-in-chief Julian Kossoff.
Kossoff, previously managing editor of IB Times UK for more than six years, appears to be the only new staff byline on the site so far this month, on a story jointly credited to AP.
UK staff were told they were being let go as a direct result of a Buzzfeed investigation which alleged that NMG had been buying traffic and engaging in ad fraud.
The company later admitted a piece of potential code that disrupted ad tracking and viewability was affecting its UK, India and Singapore IB Times websites and said an internal probe was under way to identify those responsible.
There have also been numerous media reports since the start of the year regarding a year-long investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney into NMG’s finances.
The company told Press Gazette last month that none of its websites would be closing as a result of the redundancies.
However one source told us previously: “There’s certainly nobody left writing for the website.”
In the week leading up to most editorial staff leaving the company, the website operated at about “20 per cent capacity”, according to another source, with “virtually no” stories written by reporters.
From then onwards, an editor began uploading wire copy to populate the website and the homepage was updated “very infrequently”, they said.
By contrast, it appears the IB Times US website is still being updated regularly with stories from bylined reporters.
A spokesperson for NMG told Press Gazette last month he only represented Newsweek, not IB Times. The two websites were split into separate operating entities last month as NMG invested more resources into Newsweek, its flagship brand.
Press Gazette has been unable to reach an IB Times spokesperson for comment, despite repeated attempts.