Home News The Messenger to Shut Down, Jimmy Finklestein Tells Staff

The Messenger to Shut Down, Jimmy Finklestein Tells Staff


Richard Beckman, Jimmy Finkelstein, and Dan Wakeford in March 2023.
Photo: Valerie Plesch/The New York Times/REDUX

The Messenger, a much-hyped digital-news outlet whose founder promised it would bring down-the-middle news to a supposedly enormous market, shut down after less than a year.

The company boasted $50 million in initial funding, but serious doubts about its financial future had been swirling for weeks, with CEO Jimmy Finkelstein attempting to raise enough money to keep it alive. On Wednesday, the New York Times reported that the company was abruptly closing up shop. This was apparently news to many employees, including the outlet’s editor-in-chief.

In short order, The Messenger’s Slack was disconnected, leaving employees in the dark about continuing health benefits and other basic information.

With the company out of money, laid-off workers reportedly will not be receiving severance.

In a message to staff, Finkelstein, former owner of The Hill, pinned the blame for the company’s demise on the tough economic environment for news:

The Messenger employed about 300 people, many of them poached from legacy media outlets and paid generous salaries. But its everything-for-everyone mission, as advertised by Finkelstein, always seemed nebulous, and management and financial troubles hampered it from the start. A dependence on social media and digital ads, two sectors of the news business that have been in recent decline, didn’t help. And Finkelstein did have a point with his note: The Messenger’s timing could hardly have been worse. The media world has already seen a catastrophic January, with widespread layoffs at outlets big and small.

According to Axios, The Messenger made only $3 million in revenue in 2023 — while spending $8 million on office space.

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