The investigation into The London Weekly and Invincible gathers pace – now James Ball is setting out his stall: he doesn’t like what he sees, and neither do I. As a result, I want to ask you to do something at the end of this article*.
The group of people looking into this at Help Me Investigate, including James, have uncovered a wealth of information about The London Weekly and the people behind it. These can be summed up in the following:
- Repeated connections with the Invincible Group, a project headed by Jordan Kensington that has a similar history of overhyped launches.
- Unsupported claims of investment, staffing, distribution and company structure.
- People who have been asked to work for nothing – for example, commission-only ad sales and internships with no support.
- Reproduction of content from elsewhere, not just in the newspaper but on the websites of The London Weekly and Invincible Group themselves – the distribution figure of 250,000, for example, appears to be a simple copy and paste from the Metro-in-Scotland. We’re trying to find out if this copying includes advertising.
It’s still not clear whether the project is actually breaking the law, but if I was a student or freelance journalist considering being involved in this project, or anything related to the Invincible Group, I would steer well clear. That’s just my opinion. As James says:
“The people who’ve really been jerked about are prospective employees, and perhaps even those who got hired. In the wake of the widespread coverage of the new freesheet when it was first announced last year, laid-off sales staff from the London Lite, Metro, London Paper and other publications sent CVs.
“After signing NDAs (which as they refer to non-registered entities would likely be unenforceable), some were offered sales jobs: based entirely on commission.
“One such individual was offered the role of “advertising director” having never so much as spoken to anyone on the title. He was expected to work with no basic pay, but instead would receive 35% commission on advertising sold. Unsurprisingly, he decided to decline the offer.”
James’ post is worth reading in full for more detail on what’s been dug up on Invincible/The London Weekly. Likewise, his post listing the questions that Invincible/The London Weekly need to answer.
*Meanwhile, here’s what I’m suggesting. Please blog about this issue and link to this post with the phrases ‘London Weekly‘ and ‘Invincible Group‘. Given the strong PageRank of the Online Journalism Blog, a search on either should then bring this near the top of results – hence the headline – allowing potential employees to make an informed decision (and former employees to add their own experiences).
And if you can add anything more, please post a comment or email me on paul (at) helpmeinvestigate (dot) com.