The introspection is getting thick in here. Media Grok's beat is self-referential by nature, but with this story we risk vanishing into a black hole of media recursion as we cover online the online media's coverage of the demise of an online-media outlet.
APBnews was an ambitious and by most measures successful media play. (These measures did not include profitability.) The site was devoted to crime, justice and safety. It had garnered journalism awards and attracted Pulitzer Prize-winning talent, even though, as the Wall Street Journal sniffed, "many of APBnews' staff reporters came from New Jersey daily newspapers."
On Monday morning, APBnews management announced that it could no longer pay its 140 staffers and 130 contractors. After two rounds of funding variously reported as $23 or $23.5 or $25 million, APBnews found all pockets closed. Several outlets reported that a last-minute deal with NBC/NBCi had fallen through over the weekend, but only Inside.com quoted details from a letter to shareholders.
Reuters and the New York Post both reported that APBnews staffers volunteered to work without pay for a week while management continues to scramble after a white knight. The Post said the volunteer rate was as high as 90 percent, though it wondered whether some only stuck around "to hunt for jobs and upload their resumes."
Reporters love irony, and the APBnews story fairly drips with it. Grok was surprised that only four of the seven outlets reviewed here noted the weekend ceremony at the Waldorf at which APBnews received a special citation from Investigative Reporters and Editors Inc. The Wall Street Journal may have trumped this angle with its lead, "For employees of APB Online Inc., crime no longer pays." - Keith Dawson
APBnews.com Axes All Employees
The Industry Standard
APBnews Out of Money (AP)
New York Times
APB Online Lays Off Its Staff as Firm Fails to Raise More Cash
Wall Street Journal
(Paid subscription required.)
APBnews.com Runs Out of Money
APBnews.com's $23.5M Gone, Staff Axed
New York Post
Market Jitters Claim New Victim in APBnews
APB News Runs Out of Cash
APBnews.com Fires a Staff It Can't Pay