The Messenger, a News Site, Makes Its Debut

From The Poynter Report with Tom Jones:

The Messenger, a news site that will cover politics, business, entertainment and sports, made its debut on Monday. Its first big story was an interview with former President Donald Trump.

Behind the site is Jimmy Finkelstein, a media investor who formerly owned The Hill and was part owner of The Hollywood Reporter. With the backing of $50 million in investor money, the site is kicking off with 175 journalists in New York, Washington and Los Angeles. In a year, Finkelstein hopes to have as many as 550 journalists working at the site.

By Monday afternoon, dozens of stories (and plenty of advertising) were already up on the site from all across the spectrum — from the Trump interview to reports at the border to the latest “Vanderpump Rules” scandals. Some of the stories read a little like something you might see from People or TMZ, but others looked like stories you might see on any hardcore news site.

In a note to readers, editor-in-chief Dan Wakeford wrote “that in the coming months, The Messenger will launch new verticals across entertainment, business, technology, sports, health and wellness, purpose, travel, food and style.”

Not everyone was impressed with The Messenger’s debut. As The Wrap’s Rosemary Rossi wrote, “… while Finkelstein surely hoped the new outlet would get a warm welcome, it received the exact opposite. Far from oohs and ahs, the Messenger was met with scorching criticism from readers who were left confused and angry, calling it ‘literally unreadable.’”

The story that drew the most attention from Monday’s launch was Trump’s interview with Marc Caputo, the former NBC News and Politico reporter. Trump talked about the town hall he did last week with CNN, saying, “I was amazed to see that they were traumatized by what took place. They were actually traumatized. They should have said, ‘We had a tremendous ratings night, one of the best in years, many years,’ and spiked the football.”

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