Well, I didn’t see this coming, and neither did the employees of the outlet.
Many of you are familiar with the news outlet “The Messenger.” I read a couple of pieces by them and have used them in my reporting, but was never a dedicated reader of the outlet.
The online news operation was pitched to audiences and investors as a completely unbiased news source—something essentially non-existent today.
Sources say that the outlet attracted $50 million in investment funds and promised lucrative returns to those who invested in the news startup, but those returns never materialized.
Following a turbulent first year, the outlet has chosen to shut its doors, but not in the way one would expect from a legitimate business concern.
The outlet shut down abruptly, with zero warning to either readers or their staff, and the site is completely gone as of this writing. While The Messenger was not a mainstream media outlet, this shows the dire predicament of the media at large.
The Messenger took in $50 million and had hundreds of employees. If outlets like The Messenger have a hard time keeping their doors open, how can MSM giants like CNN?
Here’s what is currently being reported about the former news outlet:
Getting The Message | News Start-Up The Messenger Shuts Down | At least one journalist with the outlet confirmed his layoff on Wednesday, indicating he learned of his termination through other news sites… https://t.co/OTJCDOUlHr
— John Solomon (@jsolomonReports) February 1, 2024
NEW: The Messenger, a startup digital news website that promised to deliver "non-partisan" news coverage, is shutting down after reports that it was running out of money, an executive at the outlet who has been briefed on the matter tells @NBCNews. https://t.co/MGkTyHTUWw
— NBC News (@NBCNews) January 31, 2024
The New York Post had more on the meltdown at the online news site:
With news swirling that Finkelstein was scrambling to shore up funds in order to save the company — launched just last May with $50 million — employees either “tapped out” by calling out sick because they believed their fate was already sealed or “worked harder” in the misguided hope that last-minute scoops could show potential investors that the Messenger was worth saving.
“Top editors were assigning stories two days before the site shutdown,” said one staffer.
“It wasn’t clear that leaders had any clue what was going to happen.”
The Daily Beast featured this update: “Just a day after troubled digital news outlet The Messenger shuttered and hundreds of its journalists were unceremoniously fired, ex-staffers of the short-lived website filed a class-action lawsuit against their former employer.”
BREAKING: Just a day after troubled digital news outlet The Messenger shuttered and hundreds of its journalists were unceremoniously fired, ex-staffers of the short-lived website filed a class-action lawsuit against their former employer. https://t.co/RhNVkJvJIO
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) February 1, 2024
More than 500 journalists were laid off in January
Earlier this week, reports emerged that digital news outlet The Messenger would shut down entirely.
Read more ⬇️https://t.co/e7uC5VQu9E
— Real America's Voice (RAV) (@RealAmVoice) February 2, 2024
Politico reports that the defunct outlet is now facing a class-action lawsuit from its former employees:
The lawsuit alleges that The Messenger violated the WARN Act — a labor law that protects employees from mass layoffs or shutdowns — by failing to give employees at least 60 days notice of their impending terminations, and denying them benefits and wages they’re owed.