Ebony Drags Feet on Freelancer Payments Despite Barrage of Criticism

first_imgThis article has been updated to reflect a response from Ebony.Faced with the threat of a second lawsuit in 12 months, Ebony has completed the third of four quarterly payments owed to freelance writers it had stiffed on a collective $78,000 of work going back to 2015—after initially failing to meet a court-ordered Sept. 28 deadline.The installment of $29,850—which covers 14 of the 45 total writers under the terms of a February settlement between Ebony owner Clear View Group and the National Writers Union—comes after two earlier installments of $14,385 and $15,955, both of which were paid on time. A final $18,328 payment is due Dec. 28 to 16 writers.After the Sept. 28 deadline came and went, the writers union threatened further legal action to compel payment from CVG, which is bound by the agreement—reached in the circuit court of Cook County, Ill.—to cover the payments should Ebony find itself unable to make them.“CVG was about three weeks late and wasn’t returning calls or emails,” National Writers Union president Larry Goldbetter tells Folio:. “After the [court] filing, the checks went out.”Michael Gibson, the chairman of CVG—a Texas-based private equity firm which bought Ebony in 2016—declined to share any reasons for the delay, but confirmed that the third set of checks have been mailed and said the fourth and final payment will be made in December. A spokeswoman for Ebony blamed “legacy business issues” for the outstanding payments. Michael GibsonAs writers awaiting overdue checks aired grievances on social media in recent weeks, Ebony promoted a star-studded gala celebrating its annual Power 100 list set for Friday evening at the Beverly Hilton—the site of the Golden Globe Awards since 1961—hosted by Chris Tucker.“I got my check at the end of October and was shocked to receive it, to be honest,” says Adrienne Gibbs, who served as managing editor of Ebony‘s January 2017 issue among other contributions, adding that another writer in that issue, Rashod Ollison, passed away last month from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma before ever receiving his $900 check.“I talked with [Rashod’s] sister and made sure CVG—via the union’s lawyers—had his sister’s address,” Gibbs adds. “Rashod’s check was ‘in the mail’ for weeks even as he died and was raising money for medical bills.”The controversy ramped up in April of last year, when freelancer Jagger Blaec wrote an article on The Establishment asking, “Why Isn’t Ebony Paying Its Black Writers?” On Twitter, aggrieved freelancers coalesced around the hashtag #EbonyOwes, eliciting initial pushback from both Ebony and CVG vice-chairman Willard Jackson, who accused Blaec of writing an “attack article” and “wanting to tear down black businesses.”“Yeah well, your little Twitter rant isn’t going to change the way the media business is run,” read a deleted Tweet from the official Ebony account. “Y’all acting like it’s 100s of people. It’s 10.” (Turns out it’s at least 45.)Adrienne GibbsWeeks later, however, CVG issued a statement to NBC, asserting that it would pay all debts by early July 2017. When that deadline passed, the National Writers Union became involved, led by Goldbetter and Gibbs.Following the completion of the third quarter payment, the oldest outstanding invoice is now from this past March, and the most any individual writer is owed is $2,650.“In the time since we have started this case, I’ve heard from 10 additional writers who wanted to join the suit,” says Gibbs. “The whole situation is just sad. Every time a new story surfaces, even more people come out of the woodwork.”Gibson disputed this article shortly after it was posted, writing via email, “This story as we see it is completely inaccurate.” Asked which aspects, specifically, are inaccurate, Gibson referred Folio: to Katrina Witherspoon, SVP of marketing for Ebony, who gave the following statement:While unfortunately EBONY was contacted to provide limited response to only one question from Folio pertaining to this particular matter, Michael Gibson made it clear the company has satisfied all outstanding payments with the National Writers Union.As we have stated previously, all prior issues related to payment obligations to former freelance writers were the result of legacy business issues that predated the new business model put in place by Ebony’s current management. Furthermore, as it relates specifically to freelance writers, Ebony has instituted a policy that now provides increased transparency regarding payment terms and conditions for freelance writers we engage.The brand will continue to endure and evolve with a digital first strategy, ensuring its persistence and relevance for decades to come.last_img read more

Tata Group eyes Myanmar Vietnam as future markets

first_imgSeven companies of the Tata Group would focus on Myanmar and Vietnam as viable markets to expand its business. Growing economies, expanding middle class and tax incentives have made these two countries as important destinations for firms looking to expand their global operations in the South East Asia region.Tata companies such as Tata Power, Tata Projects, Tata Chemical, Titan and Tata Motors, among others, are on the lookout for opportunities in Vietnam and Myanmar. For the giant business group, Singapore is the related country for Asean markets, which includes a $2 trillion economy, The Economic Times reported on Feb. 9.Asean countries include Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia.”The demographics and the economic development stage of these countries represent a market for several products and services from the Tata Group,” a Tata Sons spokesperson told the publication.India’s oldest business conglomerate has an understanding each in Vietnam and Myanmar for power projects. It is now planning to strengthen its engagement with a strategic point of view.”The region has recorded more than 5% GDP growth on average since the year 2000 and, when combined, Asean nations would represent the world’s seventh-largest economy. The region, is therefore, regarded by many as the third pillar of economic growth within Asia, after China and India,” Shashank Tripathi, partner and strategy leader at PwC was quoted as saying by the publication.Vietnam reportedly signed a free trade agreement with the European Union on Dec. 2, 2015. The country, which is set to become global trade partner for the US, the EU and China in exports, makes it important strategic partner for India.A joint statement by India and Myanmar on the first meeting of the India-Myanmar Joint consultative commission held in July 2015 stated that both sides of the concerned ministries would work towards expeditious signing of the MoU on capacity building between the RBI of India and the Central Bank of Myanmar. The MoU took note of the proposal the Indian government had put forward of granting license to an Indian Bank to open its branch in Myanmar.last_img read more

Suicide of physician wife confesses to illicit affairs

first_imgMustafa Morshed Akash,Tanjila Haq Chowdhury MituTanjila Haq Chowdhury Mitu, who was detained in connection with reported suicide of her husband physician Mustafa Morshed Akash, has confessed to having extramarital affairs with others, police claimed on Friday, reports UNB.She, however, kept mum about various other important issues, Chittagong Metropolitan Police’s additional deputy commissioner (South) Md Mizanur Rahman said at a press briefing in the city.”She was detained over her husband’s Facebook status before killing himself and his family’s verbal complaint,” Mizanur said.A team of Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit picked Mitu up from Nandankanon on Thursday night, hours after her husband reportedly killed himself with an insulin overdose.A Chattogram court later sent her to jail when police produced her before it showing her arrest in a case filed over the incident.Victim’s mother Jobeda Khanam filed the case against six people, including Mitu, her parents and two friends, with Chandgaon police station in the afternoon, said its officer-in-charge Abul Bashar.The five other accused are Mitu’s father Anisul Haq Chowdhury, mother Shamim Shely, sister Sanjida Haq Chowdhury Alisha and two friends – Indian national Uttam Patel and Mahbubul Alam.Police said they will investigate whether any of Mitu’s friends was involved in the instigation.CTTC unit chief Mohammad Shahidullah said they had interrogated Mitu. “She has admitted to cheating and conjugal disputes but avoided answering some other questions,” he said.Police said they had seized the mobile phone used by Akash and the physician’s Facebook status about his wife has been deleted.Akash, 33, a physician of Chittagong Medical College Hospital’s medicine department, reportedly killed himself over family feud in Chandgaon residential area in the city after an altercation with his wife, also a physician who used to reside in the USA, about her alleged illicit affairs.Family members said before his apparent suicide, Akash had shared photos of his wife on his Facebook profile and wrote about her alleged extramarital affairs before announcing his decision to end his life.last_img read more

Create Your Own Chatbot Online and Increase Productivity

first_img Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. April 4, 2017 Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Chatbots are wonderful tools for productivity and efficiency. They allow you to automate tasks which would otherwise take forever to complete, thereby enabling you to focus on other more important things related to your business.Bots are also potent enough to render app fatigue irrelevant. With the sheer number of apps these days, downloading a new app for undertaking just about any task — and being inundated by a range of notifications and instructions — can be energy-sapping. To circumvent this, you can create chatbots online to augment the efficiency of your existing apps.Using bots, you can engage more efficiently with your colleagues and/or clients in popular chat platforms where they are most likely to spend time — Facebook, Whatsapp, Slack, Twitter — as well as your own smartphone. Chatbots also give you the flexibility of remaining within the platforms and apps that you use most frequently, which reduces the chances of unnecessary distractions and impeding your productivity. Let’s take the case of Jarvis, which serves as a reminder bot embedded within Facebook messenger. Bots like these offer great convenience and streamline processes that would consume a lot of time, money, and energy.Related: Top 10 Best Chatbot Platform Tools to Build Chatbots for Your BusinessUtility at its best.You can use bots for just about anything, be it work-related purposes, shopping, buying tickets, addressing customer service issues, or influencer marketing. They can be utilized to heighten your business prospects by attracting new customers and retaining existing ones while lowering the dependency on time-consuming human intervention. Thankfully, the technology of artificial intelligence is becoming increasingly sophisticated, thereby constantly expanding the scope of chatbots. In the parlance of managing your brand, these bots can take a lot of burden off your shoulders and help you become more productive.Related: How to Create a Facebook Messenger Chatbot For Free Without CodingSimplify things; don’t complicate them.Most of us have already been utilizing automation, even on a small scale. Whether it’s the self-service kiosks, touch screens, or the numerous features in our smartphones, we’re subconsciously wired to the benefits of automation — as long as it makes things easier and doesn’t complicate them. As a business or an entrepreneur, you may want to ensure that you communicate with your customers in a manner with which feel comfortable and knowledgeable. When you do that, a lot of things begin to fall in place and your overall productivity increases. Using new technologies merely for the sake of using them when the customers are simply not ready isn’t going to get you anywhere.Related: 7 Ways Chatbots Can Benefit Your Marketing StrategyEnsure adequate engagement.As you progress further in your business or entrepreneurial journey, you’re likely to develop a steady online following. Remember, they are going to be responsive only if you offer something that holds their attention. Not adopting a thoughtful approach while curating your chatbot can seriously hamper productivity, because negative publicity spreads faster than positive publicity. To that end, understand the needs and preferences of your customers before having them interact with bots. When a bot-customer conversation is initiated, ensure that it is engaging, interactive, specific, and yes, time-saving. No one is going to wait beyond a few minutes for your chatbot to respond.Related: Top 7 Chatbot Monetization Strategies You Need to KnowProductivity benefits within an organization.Chatbots can be used by members of a company or organization to keep them updated about new agendas and projects, which in turn helps plan out their workload accordingly. Bots can set up daily reminders and create an inclusive community that unites the entire workforce for a dedicated cause. As opposed to setting up manual calendar reminders, you can leverage chatbots as an accessible, centralized reference point within existing online communication platforms. In addition, brands can use chatbots for their training programs where they can brief new employees about the various company policies and ensure they have a smooth transition. The good thing about bots is their quick response times, reduced errors, and ability to tackle multiple tasks simultaneously. For instance, Riot aims to identify a chatbot within its web messaging community to simplify mundane tasks for its customers by launching close to three fresh bots per weeks (internally).Related: 10 Facebook Messenger Chatbot Marketing Expert TipsRespect your customers and their choices.Customers may become irritated when they are forced into engaging with a peripatetic chatbot when they actually look forward to interacting with another human with clear-cut responses. In your zest to develop an amazingly cool chatbot, you may want to remember the timeless golden rule: it is the customer that counts — always.Understand and respect what your customer expects out of you and deliver it. If they are comfortable with a button within the chatbot window that they can click on to begin interacting with a real person, then do exactly that. If done appropriately, chatbots can make a lot of contribution to your business’s overall productivity. They can also make your employees perform better and with heightened clarity by sharing some of their burden, which takes a lot of their time. Since chatbots are all set to become more evolved, you may want to integrate them intelligently to position your brand in the right place and make the most of what technology has to offer. Register Now » 5 min readlast_img read more