In the heady days of 2017, all seemed rosy for left-wing news website like the Canary. Founded in 2015 to 'diversify the media' the hyper-partisan outfit rode the wave of Corbynism to its height just after Theresa May's snap election. Its editor Kerry-Anne Mendoza appeared on Newsnight; revenues hit £250,000 while staff boasted of 3.5 million unique users.
Fast forward just four years and a very different picture emerges. After Corbyn's electoral humiliation and the election of Keir Starmer in response, the Canary has lost its privileged perch among sections of the Labour party. By June 2020, with revenues falling, the site tumbled out of the top 1,000 online websites with just over 600,000 page views amid allegations about antisemitism, fake news and conspiracy theories.
Now even Kerry-Ann Mendoza has chosen to leave the building. In a little-noticed personal video statement released earlier this summer she said she will be leaving the Canary 'in order to continue her mental health recovery.' She has stepped down as Editor-at-large and director, handing her shares in parent company Canary Media Limited over to colleagues and resigning as a director on Companies House at the end of July.
With Labour conference less than a fortnight away, Steerpike wonders what, if any, impact once-influential sites like the Canary, Skwawkbox or Novara will have on party proceedings in the future.