October 5, 2021

So is Ozy Media dead or what? After The New York Times’ Ben Smith wrote a column last week, it started an avalanche of coverage that revealed questionable business practices. That included a CNN story by Kerry Flynn in which Ozy staffers alleged an abusive environment. Last Friday, Ozy CEO Carlos Watson said the company was shutting down.

But on Monday, Watson told “Today’s” Craig Melvin, “We’re going to open for business, so we’re making news today. This is our Lazarus moment, if you will, this is our Tylenol moment. Last week was traumatic, it was difficult, heartbreaking in many ways.”

In an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Watson said announcing the company’s closing last week was “premature.” He added, “We have lots of things we have to do to improve, but I very genuinely feel like we have a meaningful, transformational voice.”

Watson told Melvin, “I think Ozy is part of this moment, and it’s not going to be easy, and I think what we do with newsletters, what we do with TV shows, original TV shows, podcasts and more, I think has a place.”

But as Flynn and Brian Stelter wrote on Monday, “Who oversees Ozy now? The company has already, in effect, dissolved. Three of the five board members resigned in the wake of (Smith’s column) about Ozy’s misrepresentations.”

This piece originally appeared in The Poynter Report, our daily newsletter for everyone who cares about the media. Subscribe to The Poynter Report here.

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Tom Jones is Poynter’s senior media writer for He was previously part of the Tampa Bay Times family during three stints over some 30…
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