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The Love, Journalism Show
Episode 19: Building The Messenger from scratch

Episode 19: Building The Messenger from scratch

White House reporter Rebecca Morin and photo director Lauren Morgan share their media start-up stories

I’m Darren Samuelsohn, and thanks for listening to The love, journalism Show. This is the next installment of my podcast mini-series featuring former employees of The Messenger, the $50 million media startup that scorched across the internet from May 2023 until the end of January. (Part I, Part II, Part III and Part IV are here).

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Rebecca Morin covered President Joe Biden’s White House for The Messenger. Lauren Morgan oversaw the photographs and other visuals that illustrated our work.

Both veteran journalists played key roles in helping build the digital news publication from scratch but after 10 months of work are now back on the job market after the company shuttered.

We talked in this episode about the many challenges in getting a media outlet started, from obtaining White House press passes to putting together an image library on everything from war to Congress and Taylor Swift/Travis Kelce.

Our journalism conversation got personal too. Rebecca offered insights on what it meant to her to cover the politics and policy of immigration as a native of a Texas border town. Lauren shared tough-love wisdom about what it takes to make it in the business, as handed down from her mother, a barrier-breaking ex-copy editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer.

We met to talk about our experiences with The Messenger and the future of our industry on Feb. 8, less than a week after losing our jobs. It’s a bittersweet, raw chat among recently laid-off journalists looking for their next opportunities to keep covering the news.

One more thing: Please consider donating to this GoFundMe page organized for and by ex-employees of The Messenger to help my fellow former colleagues during this uncertain period.

Our company’s nearly 300-person staff was let go on Jan. 31 without severance or healthcare of any kind.

All the funds collected from this campaign will go to help former employees cover bills, living expenses, medicine, groceries, childcare, and health insurance costs, among others.


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love, journalism
The Love, Journalism Show
A podcast full of insights, interviews, ideas and inspiration from Darren Samuelsohn, a veteran journalist who has been reporting and editing writers for 30+ years.