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News startup The Messenger shuts down

The Messenger, a digital media company that launched less than a year ago, has shut down following multiple reports that it was set to do so.

News of the startup’s plans to shutter was first reported by The New York Times on Wednesday, citing a person familiar with the decision.

As of Wednesday night, readers who attempt to visit the site for The Messenger are shown black text on a white background that only features the outlet’s name and the email address info@themessenger.com.

The Hill has reached out to a representative for the outlet.

Last spring, founder Jimmy Finkelstein, who previously owned The Hill, told the Times and other media outlets his vision for The Messenger was one that he described as a “Washington Post, Daily Mail hybrid.”

Finkelstein at the time said he wanted to offer an option for online news consumers looking for an alternative to mainstream outlets like CNN and the country’s leading newspapers.

“I find that bias in the news is not so much what the people report, but what they don’t report,” he said. “So it’s really a question of not commission, but omission.”

Finkelstein and president Richard Beckman, a longtime business partner, promised to hire hundreds of journalists and generate $100 million in revenue through advertising and events.

But by the end of last year, The Messenger had generated only $3 million and had just $1.8 million in cash on hand, the Times reported.

After the outlet implemented job cuts earlier this month, the company said it was planning another round of fundraising as Finkelstein worked to keep the company running.

Journalists working for the outlet began posting online about being laid off Wednesday, writing that they learned of the outlet’s demise via news reports.

The Messenger is just the latest in a slew of media companies that have been forced to make steep cost-cutting measures or to scale back expansion plans as news providers navigate a tough advertising market and changing consumer habits.

Updated at 8:36pm

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