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News Startup The Messenger to Shut Down, 300 Staffers Let Go

Embattled startup The Messenger is shuttering just eight months after launching, The Hollywood Reporter can confirm. Approximately 300 staffers are being let go from the media outlet.

Employees had their Slack accounts deactivated shortly after 1 p.m. PST Wednesday. There was no comment from a Messenger representative when reached by phone.

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“I am not in the loop. Trying to find out now,” editor Dan Wakeford earlier wrote on Slack after being asked by staff if there would be any update from management. The development came after the board of The Messenger met earlier Wednesday to decide the site’s fate.

A note to staff from owner Jimmy Finkelstein is below:

I am personally devastated to share that we have made the painfully hard decision to shut down The Messenger, effective immediately. Over the past few weeks, literally until last night, we exhausted every option available and have endeavored to raise sufficient capital to reach profitability. Unfortunately, we have been unable to do so, which is why we haven’t shared the news with you until now. This is truly the last thing I wanted, and I am deeply sorry.

The Messenger started with an incredibly important mission – to deliver balanced and accurate journalism at a time when Americans’ trust in media is at a record low – and I am proud of what we achieved. Our editorial team created and delivered an outstanding product that generated unprecedented traffic in seven months. ComScore recently announced that we reached 88 million page views in November. Under the right circumstances, I know we could have made a significant difference in today’s fragmented media landscape and country.

The industry has faced extraordinary challenges this past year. The economic headwinds have left many media companies fighting for survival. Unfortunately, as a new company, we encountered even more significant challenges than others and could not survive those headwinds. I am grateful to you and the partners who believed in our mission and came on board over the past seven months, but the reality is that we needed more capital to move forward successfully.

We understand that this announcement will immediately raise several questions, and our team is committed to providing timely information during this period. Our Chief People Office is available for any questions we have not addressed in the FAQs.

Again, I want to apologize for being unable to find a way through. Thank you for your unwavering dedication and hard work. I wish everyone well in their future endeavors.

Sincerely,  

Jimmy

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More to come.

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