Deadline Detroit announces it is closing after 10 years in post on website

Jennifer Chambers
The Detroit News

Deadline Detroit, an independent, digital-media organization, will cease operations next month after a decade of reporting on the Motor City and its people.

Allan Lengel, its co-founder, made the announcement on the publication's website early Wednesday morning. The news site will go dark after Sept. 5.

"Sadly, after celebrating Deadline Detroit’s 10-year anniversary in April, I’ve simply run out of juice, the 24/7 grind of overseeing an online publication with few vacations has taken a toll," Lengel wrote in his early morning post. "The decision is difficult, particularly since generous friends just committed to providing much needed additional funding. After much thought, I chose to pass on those funds.  

Deadline Detroit produces unique original content and commentary in the forms of breaking news and investigative work. It also offers a curated aggregation of top Detroit-focused stories from local, national and international media, its website says.

Lengel worked at The Detroit News from 1984 to 1995. After working at the Washington Post for 11 years, he returned to Michigan in 2011 to help launch Deadline Detroit with co-founder Bill McGraw, a longtime Detroit Free Press journalist.

"I love this place. And I love the publication. It was as much a passion as it was a business," Lengel wrote. "I couldn’t be prouder of our top-notch, talented staff and contributors and the impact we’ve had on the community."

"I always thought it was a miracle we lasted this long. But the readership, which averaged about 600,000 unique visits a month, and went as high as 1.2 million during the height of the pandemic, is a testament to the appetite for more journalism in Detroit, particularly in a town where the two major dailies’ staffs have shrunk considerably since the days I worked at The Detroit News," he wrote.

Lengel said there had been preliminary talks with people and organizations interested in buying the online publication but nothing moved forward.

In additional to traditional journalism, the publication had a relationship show, a local-parody weekly newscast, a restaurant show and a weekly talk show called "The Week That Was."

Lengel said the weekly show will continue after Sept. 5 and will be posted on two Facebook pages and a YouTube channel.