How a media organization treats a reporter in the trenches speaks volumes about how much it values its news team. Late last month, IBT Media—which owns both the IBTimes news site and Newsweek–announced it would be laying off a good chunk of its staff. Reports then began to surface that the severance package offered was one week's pay for every year the reporter worked. Thus, if someone worked at the site for less than a year, they were fired without any money to tide them over.
Now, former employees are railing against the company, using the hashtag #IBTWTF, claiming that it employed shady tactics. Dozens of people have come forward tweeting their own stories of wrongdoing.
One example really shines through. Erin Banco worked at IBTimes as a Middle East reporter. She was sent to war zones in Iraq and Gaza to report on the conflict with ISIS and other violent confrontations. According to her tweets, she may not have been given adequate insurance coverage that is required for any war zone reporter, but the company also didn't appear to offer much assistance whatsoever for such difficult work. Here are a few of her tweets:
was sent to Iraq and needed to pay for extra security. didn't get paid that week. Had to beg for wire transfer #IBTWTF— Erin Banco (@ErinBanco) July 28, 2016
Sent to Gaza to cover war with zero security. pressured to come back to work the day after I landed back in JFK even with no sleep #IBTWTF— Erin Banco (@ErinBanco) July 28, 2016
Was told I wasn't at the point in my career to demand such things even though they sent me there #IBTWTF— Erin Banco (@ErinBanco) July 28, 2016
If you don't have money to cover a reporter's ass in a war zone, don't send them. #IBTWTF— Erin Banco (@ErinBanco) July 28, 2016
Was told we had adequate insurance for reporting overseas and in war zones. Still not sure we ever had it #IBTWTF— Erin Banco (@ErinBanco) July 28, 2016
This is just a taste of what's coming to light. Follow the hashtag #IBTWTF to see more former employees coming forward with their stories. IBTimes did not return a phone call and email for comment. CGW