The Messenger: A Short-Lived Digital News Outlet Closes its Doors

Digital news outlet The Messenger, founded by Jimmy Finkelstein less than a year ago, is set to shut down after failing to raise sufficient capital to reach profitability. The closure comes as the media industry continues to grapple with widespread layoffs and struggles with advertising and audience engagement.

Finkelstein had launched The Messenger with the aim of creating a centrist publication that would generate internet traffic from social media platforms and search engines. The outlet initially had ambitious plans to hire 550 journalists and reach 100 million readers monthly. However, it eventually hired only 300 journalists amid financial challenges.

Reports emerged in the fall that The Messenger was in need of $20 million in funding while simultaneously laying off staff. Finkelstein even met with right-wing financiers, including discussions at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago, in an effort to secure capital. Despite refuting rumors of collapse and claiming to have raised over $10 million in funding, the financial health of the outlet spiraled downward.

The New York Times broke the news of the outlet’s imminent closure to staffers, who were shocked and disappointed by the lack of communication from management. Some expressed frustration at the sudden announcement and the uncertainty surrounding their future.

This closure adds to the growing list of media outlets struggling to navigate the current landscape, where traditional advertising revenue has dwindled, and capturing audience attention has become increasingly difficult. The Messenger’s ambitious plans to tap into the digital market and find success were ultimately outweighed by the financial challenges it faced.

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As the media industry continues to evolve, it remains to be seen what the future holds for digital news outlets like The Messenger. The closure serves as a reminder of the ongoing struggles faced by the industry and the need for innovative approaches to sustainably monetize digital news platforms.

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