Uncategorized — November 17, 2011 at 11:42 am

Michigan Messenger is closing


This is depressing:

I am writing today to announce the closure of the Michigan Messenger. After four years of operation in Michigan, the board of the American Independent News Network, has decided to shift publication of its news into a single site, The American Independent at Americanindependent.com.

This is part of a shift in strategy, towards new forms of journalism made available as technology has advanced, and an increasing emphasis on national coverage and issue-based coverage from our network. Over the coming months, AINN will announce a number of new journalism initiatives that will continue to advance our mission of producing impact journalism in the public interest.

Going forward, an archive of the Messenger’s reporting will exist on AmericanIndependent.com.

We are grateful for the loyal readership of the Messenger, and to the outstanding work of our reporters and editors.

We look forward to keeping you posted on our plans, which will be announced early next year.

Best regards,

David S. Bennahum
CEO & founder, The American Independent News Network

The state of media across the country and in Michigan as much as anywhere is a shambles. There is far less investigative reporting going on than ever before. Because only large media outlets like the New York Times and the Washington Post are doing serious investigative journalism, local stories and issues get much less attention than they should. While local media outlets like AnnArbor.com and MLive are doing the best they can, they are short-staffed and the quality of their reporting is often wanting, in my opinion, primarily because they simply don’t have the staff to do it properly.

The impact for the country is that local issues that would normally get full scrutiny can fly under the radar. Corruption and illegal/unethical behavior by politicians, corporations and other organizations too often goes unreported, allowing those involved to get away with their actions.

Michigan Messenger was an outlet that focused on progressive news issues. It was one of only a handful of places where our side of the story could be told, reported by paid, full-time journalists. While blogs such as mine, Blogging for Michigan and other do report, the writing is done by people who do it as a side gig and who have full-time jobs to pay their bills. There’s no possible way for us to do the investigative research needed to provide the reporting that holds our public officials and public & private organizations accountable.

This is tragic and it does not bode well for accountability in our country. I feel pretty certain that this cannot be sustained. At some time, hopefully in the not-too-distant future, our news outlets will need to transition to a new business model where we as citizens once again pay a little something for quality reporting. Investigative journalism is necessary for the health of our society and it’s not possible unless you have paid professionals doing it full-time.

My hat is off to Michigan Messenger. Todd Heywood and Eartha Jane Melzer, in particular, provided a valuable service to Michigan. Their departure will leave a giant hole.

More commentary and excellent analysis on this news by P.D. Lesko at A2Politico HERE.