Staff work for free at APBnews.com

The APBnews team just won't give up... Rachel Munro reports

US crime site APBnews.com saw at least 100 of its 140 journalists and marketing staff turn up for work this week, despite the fact that the company can't afford to pay them.

As reported on ZDNet News Friday, life has been hard recently for online news sites, with APBNews having to lay off all its staff.

But APBNews.com is the "site that refuses to die," according to former (but still active) vice president of communications, Joe Krakoviak.

Chairman and CEO Marshall Davidson is trying to find an investor to keep the New York-based site going, after financial backers refused to invest any more money.

"The fact that anyone is still doing anything for the company that a week and a half ago fired them with no severance is a testament to their belief in what we were doing and could do, if the capital markets would only open their eyes and see past the current consensus," said Krakoviak.

The company's backers were aware the site had a four year break-even period which was still on course for early 2002, but withdrew funding nevertheless. This, said Krakoviak, is "by far the quickest and least-expensive creation of a media company in history -- but the capital markets have shut us out despite our achievement, potential and modest needs."

"We spent $27.1m in two years and are looking to raise another $21.4m in this third round of financing."

"Our Achilles heel was relying on the capital markets, which is obviously short-term money, for a (relatively) long-term business. If this ends badly, I'll know that many of them will be kicking themselves soon and for a long time to come."

APBnews.com has just been named best journalism site on the Web among US news media by the national Press Club. The news content of the site is still being syndicated to AOL and MSNBC.

Salon.com has also had to lay off 13 staff and slash next year's budget by 20 percent.

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