Digital news startup 'The Messenger' shuts down, staff learns via NY Times article

February 1, 2024
US-based digital news startup has shut down in less than a year after its high-profile launch,

San Francisco, Feb 1 (IANS) US-based digital news startup has shut down in less than a year after its high-profile launch, and the staff learned about this development via a news article published by The New York Times.

Several employees of the media outlet posted on social media that they got laid off and the company is closing down via The New York Times article. They also mentioned that they will not receive any severance, and their healthcare coverage will end.

“I just got laid off. One would expect to learn this news from their employer but instead, @TheMessenger employees learned of it via @nytimes and @semafor – there is no severance. Healthcare will cease. I have to go clean out my desk from the DC office,” James LaPorta, national security reporter for The Messenger, wrote on X.

“Finding out I’m out of a job through the New York Times is a new one, I gotta say. Appreciate the gracious and dignified way upper management has handled making the announcement. JK, they haven’t said a word to us,” Adam Kovac, science news reporter, said.

The Messenger was founded by Jimmy Finkelstein, the former owner of The Hollywood Reporter and The Hill.

Unfortunately, the company lost around $38 million of its initial funding and only generated $3 million by the end of last year, according to The New York Times.

When The Messenger was launched, Finkelstein predicted that it would generate $100 million in revenue in its first year, but the company only managed to stay afloat for nine months.

The publication hired about 300 people, including journalists with experience from Politico, NBC News etc.

In a memo sent to employees on Wednesday, Finkelstein said he had made the “painfully hard decision to shut down The Messenger, effective immediately.”

“Over the past few weeks, literally until earlier today, we exhausted every option available and have endeavoured to raise sufficient capital to reach profitability,” he wrote, according to a copy of the memo obtained by CNN.

Meanwhile, US-based news website focused on high-tech and startup companies TechCrunch has laid off several employees, including managing editors.

Matt Burns, who had been with the company since 2008 and was the managing editor since 2017, has also been laid off along with a handful of operations, business and editorial staff. He confirmed the news on X.

According to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an outplacement firm that tracks employment figures, more than 20,000 media jobs were eliminated last year.

–IANS

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