In a statement, The Messenger said that the site is still in an early testing phase.
“We have delivered hundreds of pieces of great journalism and have exceeded our traffic goals,” the statement said. “Our teams are successfully working through any initial issues with technology and work flow, and we are confident that these will be resolved when we fully launch next month with our verticals and advertisers.”
The Messenger, founded by Jimmy Finkelstein, the former co-owner of The Hill and The Hollywood Reporter, has raised $50 million from investors including Josh Harris, co-founder of the private equity giant Apollo. It moved quickly in the months leading up to its debut, hiring scores of journalists, some from major publications like Politico and CNN, with some lured by salaries well above the standard market rate, according to two people with knowledge of the company’s recruitment efforts.
The site has multiple teams dedicated to covering breaking news, which has resulted in confusion over who is working on what, according to five people familiar with the inner workings of the site who spoke on condition of anonymity because company rules prevent unauthorized interviews with the media. On some occasions over the last week, The Messenger published two versions of the same story, with editors unaware of what their co-workers were working on.
Those tensions reached a boiling point earlier in the week after one of The Messenger’s news teams assigned a story that had already been assigned by an editor on another team. Mr. Zimmerman admonished editors in a group chat on the messaging platform Slack that they needed to use an online form to coordinate their story assignments. That guidance ran afoul of editors who preferred to use Slack for story planning.
After a back-and-forth between Mr. Zimmerman and a politics editor, Gregg Birnbaum, in which Mr. Zimmerman at one point wrote that it was “quite simple to open the doc and check,” and at another point blamed the politics team for the mixed signals, Mr. Birnbaum said he had had enough.