11.7 C
Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Media startup The Messenger disintegrates, leaving workers nothing

They are saying don’t shoot the messenger, however what if The Messenger shoots itself?

Media startup The Messenger burst on the scene final Could with $50 million {dollars} in hand, aggressively hiring journalists to construct an “unbiased” digital newsroom. As a substitute, its workers came upon via a New York Instances article right now that the publication is shutting down. In line with workers’ social media posts, the laid off employees is not going to obtain any severance, and their healthcare protection will finish.

“The very last thing I noticed in The Messenger’s slack was a panicked colleague writing ‘wait, what about our insurance coverage protection, I’ve a surgical procedure boo—’ after which all of us received booted out!!!” stated journalist Jordan Hoffman in a submit on X.

The journalism trade hasn’t had a terrific yr, partially as a consequence of declining digital advert gross sales throughout the board. However The Messenger’s implosion is shockingly egregious, even in a time when 3,000 journalists have been laid off within the final yr.

Based by Jimmy Finkelstein (the previous proprietor of The Hollywood Reporter and The Hill), The Messenger had misplaced about $38 million of its startup capital and solely generated $3 million by late final yr, per the New York Instances. At launch, Finkelstein claimed the corporate would develop to make $100 million in income after its first yr, but it surely solely lasted about 9 months.

The Messenger had been making an attempt to lift further capital within the hours main as much as its demise. But it surely didn’t safe the funding it wanted, which raises the query of why the publication wanted to lift more cash so quickly, anyway.


“Over the previous couple of weeks, actually till final night time, we exhausted each choice obtainable and have endeavored to lift adequate capital to achieve profitability,” Finkelstein wrote. “Sadly, we’ve been unable to take action, which is why we haven’t shared the information with you till now. That is really the very last thing I needed, and I’m deeply sorry.”

Like just about each different firm that has carried out layoffs in the previous couple of years, Finkelstein cited obscure “financial headwinds” in his word to workers concerning the closure (which, we can not emphasize sufficient, got here after workers discovered that they misplaced their jobs from a New York Instances article). Nonetheless, Finkelstein has not addressed simply the way it’s potential to burn via a lot cash so rapidly.

From the get-go, media consultants have been skeptical of The Messenger’s sport plan, which was to leverage social media referral site visitors to generate advert income. This technique for a media enterprise might need labored fifteen years in the past, however this isn’t the period of the BuzzFeed growth (simply have a look at that firm’s inventory value). At launch, Nieman Lab famous that The Messenger was publishing a brand new story each two minutes, a few of which have been just one sentence lengthy. Although Finkelstein’s ambitions to construct a large-scale, unbiased media machine have been lofty, they have been finally doomed to fail. Sadly, that failure means monetary uncertainty and precarious healthcare protection for its employees.

“I can not fathom doing this to anybody,” wrote former Messenger staffer Madeline Fitzgerald on X. “I don’t [know] why you’d deal with workers like this.”

Latest news
Related news


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here