July 28, 2016 Last Updated 12:36 pm

IBT Media staffers go on Twitter to complain about severance

The rather odd and mysterious media company that owns International Business Times, IBT Media, recently went through a round of layoffs and spun-off/sold off the weekly magazine Newsweek. The usual thing that then happens is that staffers being cut are given severance packages, sometimes generous, sometimes not so much.

But IBT Media is reported to have made the layoffs on short notice, and then only offered one week pay for every full year employed – meaning some would receive no severance at all.

In a rather unusual move for journalists, those laid off actually complained about it, tried to get the company to provide better severance, and then went on Twitter and complained, using the hashtag #IBTWTF.

One accusation was that the previous HR manager was let go, and another brought in before the layoffs. Another said that the company told them their benefits would only last until the end of the month – but since the layoffs took place on the last day of June, that meant no extension of benefits at all.

As I have written in the past, IBT Media, when it was expanding, was often sending press releases to TNM. But the communications manager for the company left earlier this year and was clearly not replaced (or else they did not get the previous manager’s contacts). It has been all downhill since then.

20160729cover-200Ben Dolley wrote in the May/June 2014 issue of Mother Jones of the way writers even then were underpaid at IBT Media, often paid less than the equivalent of minimum wage. It also traced the connection of the media company with Olivet University, a small Bible college founded in 2004 by Korean pastor David Jang.

“Olivet and IBT are linked to a web of dozens of churches, nonprofits, and corporations around the world that Jang has founded, influenced, or controlled, with money from Community members and profitable ministries helping to cover the costs of money-losing ministries and Jang’s expenses. Money from other Community-affiliated organizations also helped fund IBT’s early growth,” Dooley wrote.

That was over two years ago, and about a month ago the announcement was made that Newsweek would be spun-off under the leadership of Jim Impoco, the magazine’s Global Editor in Chief. But as of today the magazine’s website still says it is owned by IBT Media

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