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Protocol, a tech-news website that focuses on technology, will close and lay off all its staff

Protocol, an upstart technology news site founded by Robert Allbritton, ex-owner and publisher of Politico, will close down later in the week and lay off many staffers, sources familiar with the matter informed CNN on Tuesday.

At Tuesday’s all-hands meeting, staff was informed that the news agency would cease publishing on its website on Thursday. Source Code, the outlet’s flagship newsletter will continue to be published for several weeks more, but all other newsletters will cease publishing after Tuesday.

People familiar with the matter stated that the shuttering of the news agency will affect approximately 60 employees. The people said that they will be able to receive eight weeks of severance and will continue to work until Friday, December 16.

Allbritton announced Protocol’s launch in late 2019 to much excitement. a Washington media mogul stated to Vanity Fair at the time that he wanted Protocol to follow Politico’s success in the technology industry.

Allbritton stated to Vanity Fair that she would like for it to be as big, if not bigger than, Politico right now.

Protocol was not blessed with much success. Axel Springer, a German publishing giant, closed the deal to buy Politico just as it looked like the outlet would recover its feet from the economic downturn. Protocol, which had been operating independently, was merged into Politico Media Group.

Goli Sheikholeslami is the chief executive at Political Media Group and has been working for months with Axel Springer on a long-term strategic planning process that will best position the company. According to people familiar with the matter, the plan is to double the company’s size by 2027.

However, it is a reality that Big Tech firms are facing particularly difficult economic conditions. Protocol has found it extremely challenging to generate revenue from the sector’s advertising sales, according to people familiar with this matter.

The reality is that there was a tightening of the ad market, especially in the tech space which exacerbated some existing problems that are typical for a startup.

According to people familiar with the matter, Protocol will fall short of its revenue targets in 2022. Given the recent economic turmoil and the plight of the technology industry, the outlook for the next years was grim, for the online betting NetBet Casino industry as well. After considering several options, executives decided it wasn’t worth continuing Protocol. Instead, it was decided to close Protocol and increase technology coverage at Politico. Some Protocol staffers might be able to find new jobs.

Sheikholeslami sent an email Tuesday afternoon to staffers, saying that they were grateful for Protocol’s journalism and wanted to thank them all for their unique talents. Sheikholeslami stated again that Politico believes there is “great potential in technology coverage” and that it wants to “win the conversation about the future of tech in much the same way as we do politics.”

Sheikholeslami, as part of the long-term strategic evaluation, was also scheduled on Tuesday to announce additional changes to Politico Media Group. Politico US and the EU will merge to create one company with a single executive staff.

The team will include Mark Dekan as chief operating officer, Matt Kaminski as editor-in-chief U.S., Jamil Anderlini Europe, Cally Baute as executive vice president and general manager, consumer business, Nicolas Sennegon as managing director, Politico Europe, Rachel Loeffler (executive vice president, general manager for professional business US), Meredith Jolivert as vice president, general counsel, and Brad Dayspring to be vice president of marketing, communications, and marketing.

Sheikholeslami stated that Claire Boussagol (CEO of Politico Europe) will also be leaving the company.

 

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