Pooja Bhatia, 4 November 2021
Ben Smith’s story in the New York Times about the attempted fraud dealt a severe blow, but Ozy Media wouldn’t have died so swiftly if it hadn’t been for the torrent of follow-up stories, many of which relied on information from people who had worked there. For us, the week Ozy closed felt like a virtual reunion. We gathered round the bed of the dying patriarch. We lamented the blight on our CVs, and the years of work and good faith we’d given the company. Tentatively, we asked one another if we were talking to reporters, and if so which ones. We dug around for our employment contracts and parsed them: would we be sued if we talked? Could this or that off-the-record story be traced to an individual? We criticised the emerging stories for neglecting certain angles, or overlooking the actual journalism. Some of us said we couldn’t face talking about it to anyone, let alone a reporter. Most of all, I think, we asked ourselves why we’d stayed so long.