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Ozy Media CEO Carlos Watson Says Company Isn’t Shutting Down

“We’re going to open for business, so we’re making news today,” Watson stated.

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Over the weekend, Ozy Media’s board of directors determined it was best to shut the company down following a story in The New York Times. 

The report revealed that a top executive for the company impersonated a YouTube staffer while on a conference call with possible investors from Goldman Sachs.

Despite this announcement by the board, CEO Carlos Watson told NBC’s “Today” that his company, Ozy Media, is not shutting down. 

“We’re going to open for business, so we’re making news today,” Watson stated. “This is our Lazarus moment if you will. Last week was traumatic. It was difficult — heartbreaking in many ways — and at the end of the week, we did suspend operations with a plan to wind down.”

“But as we spent time over the weekend, we talked to advertising partners, we talked to some of our readers, some of our viewers, some of our investors.”

Watson might be open for business, but it seems as though his staffers won’t be returning. Veteran journalist Katty Kay presented her resignation after joining Ozy Media in May, and it looks as though she won’t be alone. 

The Wrap reported some of the comments made by former Ozy Media staffers since the first report of the scandal have caused many to get on this roller coaster ride. 

“There does not appear to be a plan. Carlos has gone completely rogue,” one former staffer said. “The entire editorial staff is done with him — who would possibly go back? Who the hell is going to want to go on ‘The Carlos Watson Show’ now?”

“We are all sick of the roller coaster,” another former employee said.

While these former staffers chose to remain anonymous, The Wrap did speak to Eugene Robinson, a former editor at large at Ozy Media, who stated that Watson is “nuts” for wanting to continue with the company. 

“The brand is damaged beyond repair, and the name never made sense,” Robinson said. “I’d launch again with a lot of the same staff sans Watson and Rao and rebrand. But I think that golden goose is dead.”

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The United States, China Relax Visa Restrictions on Reporters

“We are gratified their correspondents will be able to return to the PRC to continue their important work,” the State Department said

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The United States and China have reached an agreement to relax visa restrictions on each countries foreign reporters, per The New York Times.

“We are gratified their correspondents will be able to return to the PRC to continue their important work,” the State Department said in a statement. “We welcome this progress but see it simply as initial steps.”

Former President Donald J. Trump’s tensions with China were at the core of the restrictions following his comments regarding the coronavirus and how it originated, resulting in China expelling journalists working for the three American papers. 

Trump would respond by limiting Chinese journalists to 90-day visas to work in the United States. 

Despite news breaking on Tuesday, both parties have been cooperating for months and agree to give journalists eligible under the countries’ laws yearlong visas that are renewable. 

“They were trying to find some area where they could show some concrete progress,” Orville Schell, the director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations at the Asia Society, said. “They decided that this was a good one.”

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Alex Jones Liable by Default in Sandy Hook Defamation Suit

The families of Sandy Hook victims are suing Jones in both Texas and Connecticut courts

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Infowars founder Alex Jones has lost another defamation lawsuit pertaining to his claims regarding the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary mass shooting. A Connecticut state court found Jones liable by default handing a victory to the families of eight people killed. 

The reason for Judge Barbara Bellis giving this verdict is due to Jones not handing over financial and analytics data requested on various occasions by the Sandy Hook family plaintiffs.

“All the defendants have failed to fully and fairly comply with their discovery obligations,” Bellis said.

The families of Sandy Hook victims are suing Jones in both Texas and Connecticut courts over his past claims where he stated that the tragedy was a hoax and that it was a staged event. Jones has since admitted that the shooting did occur.

“While the families are grateful for the Court’s ruling, they remain focused on uncovering the truth. As the Court noted, Alex Jones and his companies have deliberately concealed evidence of the relationship between what they publish and how they make money,” Chris Mattei of Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder, which represents the plaintiffs said. 

“Mr. Jones was given every opportunity to comply but, when he chose instead to withhold evidence for more than two years, the Court was left with no choice but to rule as it did today. While today’s ruling is a legal victory, the battle to shed light on how deeply Mr. Jones has harmed these families continues.”

The cases will now transition to a hearing and damages. Jones did address the verdict on his Monday show. “We need to defend all of our speech rights to say whatever it is we wish. That’s the First Amendment,” Jones said. 

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Substack Hits Milestone With One Million Paid Subscriptions

Co-founder Hamish McKenzie stated that the top 10 publications on Substack draw in over $20 million per year.

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Substack has reached a significant milestone in its history. The newsletter company announced that they hit 1 million paid subscriptions. In addition, co-founder Hamish McKenzie stated that the top 10 publications on Substack draw in over $20 million per year.

“These are subscriptions that didn’t exist before – they’re not being siphoned off from traditional media outlets or redistributed from other platforms,” McKenzie said.

“They represent a rush of new money into the media ecosystem, the vast majority of it going directly to writers.”

McKenzie notes that it’s not enough despite the growth, and the company wants to continue growing as they have become a vital source for media members. 

For example, Bari Weiss departed The New York Times to launch a newsletter, and Glenn Greenwald moved on from The Intercept, which he co-founded. 

“Our pitch to writers has always been: ‘We’ll take care of everything except the hard part.’ You don’t have to know anything about tech or business to succeed on Substack. You can set up your personal media empire in minutes,” McKenzie said. 

“With the subscription model, you can generate meaningful revenue without having to reach millions of readers. If you can convince a thousand people to subscribe for $5 a month, you’ll make more than $50,000 a year. A few thousand subscribers is enough for total financial security.”

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