Don't Kill 'The Messenger': News Site Goes Dark Less Than Year After Launch

The Messenger, the much-heralded news site, is being shuttered less than a year after launch, resulting in the loss of an estimated 300 jobs.  

The “devastated” founder Jimmy Finkelstein announced the move on Wednesday in an email to staff.   

The site, which has gone dark, had bled money since its start last May. Earlier this month, it announced it was cutting roughly two dozen jobs, according to The New York Times, which broke the story.  

Richard Beckman, president of The Messenger, resigned. 

“The industry has faced extraordinary challenges this past year,” Finkelstein wrote. “The economic headwinds have left many media companies fighting for survival.”



Finkelstein, who has run such products as The Hollywood Reporter and The Hill, added, “Unfortunately, as a new company, we encountered even more significant challenges than others and could not survive those headwinds.”

He continued, ““Over the past few weeks, literally until earlier today, we exhausted every option available and have endeavored to raise sufficient capital to reach profitability,” Mr. Finkelstein wrote in his note to the staff on Wednesday. “Unfortunately, we have been unable to do so.”

The Messenger debuted last May with $50 million in backing and high hopes that it would operate on a level similar to "60 Minutes." But it was not without a certain amount of criticism, including that The Messenger consisted largely of rewrites. 

“Perhaps the most striking thing about The Messenger’s first day was the sheer volume of content,” Joshua Benton writes on NiemanLab. “By my count, it published 203 different stories Monday — some as short as a single sentence. The New York Times — with its newsroom of more than 1,800 people — published 141."

“But most of those Times stories were, you know, stories, with reporting and interviews and such. Most of The Messenger’s are of the quick-aggregation variety, with individual staffers publishing 10 or more in an eight-hour shift."

Even before launch, The Messenger acquired The Grid, a news site launched in 2022. 

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