In a stunning turn of events, US news start-up The Messenger has shuttered its operations in less than a year since its inception, marking a catastrophic failure in the realm of publishing disasters. Reports indicate that approximately 300 employees, who dedicated their efforts to The Messenger, are now left without severance as the site abruptly went dark on January 31. The once-promising platform, spearheaded by co-founder and CEO Jimmy Finkelstein, had secured a hefty $50 million in funding last May but faced insurmountable challenges in securing further financial support this week.
The demise of The Messenger took a contentious turn as the site’s journalists questioned editorial directives to remove articles covering Donald Trump’s civil fraud trial in New York. Allegedly influenced by Finkelstein’s close ties with the former president, this controversy cast a shadow over the startup’s credibility. Industry experts are now labeling The Messenger as one of the biggest busts in media history, likening it to the Titanic of publishing disasters.
Jimmy Finkelstein’s ambitious vision to rival established publications like The Los Angeles Times came crashing down due to what insiders describe as a lack of clear messaging and an air of arrogance. Finkelstein’s substantial investment in recruiting journalists from other outlets failed to materialize into the envisioned success, leaving hundreds of employees disillusioned by unfulfilled promises.
Reflecting on the situation, a media expert remarked, “The Messenger will be remembered as the Titanic of publishing disasters.” Another insider criticized Finkelstein’s handling of the shutdown, stating, “It’s shocking how bad Jimmy handled this.” The shocking turn of events left employees in disarray, with one former critic, Jordan Hoffman, recounting the abrupt termination in The Messenger’s slack channel.
The demise of The Messenger adds to the growing list of media layoffs, joining the ranks of The Los Angeles Times, Forbes, Time, Sports Illustrated, Tech Crunch, NBC News, and Business Insider, marking a tumultuous period for the industry.