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Ozy Media shuts down only one week after most of us came upon it exists

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Within the house of six days and 5 New York Instances stories from media columnist Ben Smith, Ozy Media has gone from a largely unknown content material producer to closing its doors. The eight-year-old media startup was unrecognizable to most. It operated in anonymity regardless of a roster together with some well-known journalists, the high-profile company who appeared on CEO Carlos Watson’s present, or NYC subway riders who had been often inundated with ads for its Ozyfest occasion.

In the event you don’t observe too many reporters on Twitter, you won’t have heard, however final weekend the primary New York Times report revealed two surprising issues about Ozy Media. One, that co-founder and COO Samir Rao went on a convention name with Goldman Sachs bankers a couple of potential $40 million funding and impersonated a YouTube govt extolling the virtues of Ozy Media’s video channel. Two, that after the deception was revealed, the management of Ozy Media blamed it on a psychological well being difficulty and allowed Rao to remain in his govt place.

The following day, Carlos Watson tweeted that it was a “hit-job,” and identified causes to contemplate Ben Smith far too conflicted to report on the corporate. Smith nonetheless owns a share of Buzzfeed, and Watson mentioned that in late 2019, as Buzzfeed editor in chief, Smith tried to rearrange negotiations to accumulate Ozy Media.

Over the following few days, extra of the tales informed by Ozy Media and Watson began to unravel.

That features just about any declare about its attain and site visitors (a website claiming to have 25 million publication subscribers ought to be extra well-known), and its claims to have reported on public figures like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) earlier than different retailers. Whereas these claims had been echoed in reporting like this text on Axios, Nieman Lab reporter Joshua Benton investigated and located that even within the {cases} Ozy cited, its protection got here months or years after the themes had been coated totally in mainstream publications.

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The Ozy Mission – “We constructed our popularity on being forward of the curve — we featured Trevor Noah earlier than he was named host of The Day by day Present, introduced you Alexandria Ocasio Cortez when she was working as a bartender within the Bronx and showcased Awkwafina at OZY Fest earlier than she grew to become a Golden Globe-winning world star.”
Picture: Ozy.com

Watson informed reporters on CNBC that after a dispute over the identify of its pageant, Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne began investing within the website. This week Sharon Osbourne said to CNBC that they’ve by no means been shareholders and known as Watson “the most important shyster I’ve ever seen in my life.”

A former producer for the Carlos Watson present revealed that its big-name company had been informed the present would air on A&E and that it was part of the YouTube Unique bundle. A spokesman for the community informed the New York Times that A&E mentioned no to the present earlier than taping ever started. {A magazine}-style advert for Ozy Media ran within the New York Instances with a big tagline crediting Dateline with an announcement referring to Watson as “The most effective interviewer on TV.” As this tweet factors out, the advert doesn’t point out that these phrases appeared on Dateline as a quote from Ozy COO Samir Rao.

Over the past a number of days, former BBC journalist Katty Kay publicly resigned, advertisers ran for the hills, and its chairman Marc Lasry — proprietor of the NBA World Champion Milwaukee Bucks — resigned simply three weeks after taking the post. This morning, Watson stepped down from the board of Nationwide Public Radio. Then, this afternoon, the information broke that Ozy was shutting down solely.

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