CNN chief executive invests in Manchester media disruptor

Herrmann, second left, with the Mill team

The Mill, a Manchester-based media disruptor has raised £350,000 from a group of supporters, including Sir Mark Thompson, the former director general of the BBC and ex-CEO of the New York Times, who was this week named as the new chief executive of CNN.

The investment gives the new shareholders preference shares in the Mill and values the business at £1.85m.

Joshi Herrmann, founder of The Mill told that the funding round would allow the company to launch in three other cities over the next two years.

It also runs sites in Sheffield and Liverpool operating to the same formula as The Manchester Mill, a daily newsletter with in-depth long form journalism, which Herrmann claims is an antidote to click bait of local newspaper websites.

He said there are no plans for another fundraise any time soon, but hinted at more ideas for newsletters and launches.

Herrmann claims the Mill Media Co currently has 5,000 paying subscribers for its newsletters covering Manchester, Liverpool and Sheffield and will record £400,000 in revenue for this financial year.

He said: “When I met Mark for coffee and talked about The Mill earlier this year, I knew from the questions he asked me that there was literally no one else on the planet with better experience to help us as we take on the challenges ahead, and I’m thrilled he has joined us as an investor.”

Thompson said: “I’m backing The Mill because of the exceptional quality of its journalism and because it’s such an interesting and encouraging initiative. Britain’s cities need great commercially-sustainable journalism to inform the public and hold powerful institutions to account. That’s what The Mill and its sister publications were founded to do, and what they are consistently achieving.”

Thompson has also enjoyed a rich media career as the chief executive of Channel 4, director general of the BBC and chief executive of The New York Times.

He is joined in the funding round by an impressive number of backers from Herrmann’s black book of contacts; Nicholas Johnston, the publisher of Axios, which has a network of 30 local news sites in the US; David Rosenberg, the global director of strategy at Snap Inc; Diane Coyle, the University of Cambridge economist, and Turi Munthe of Demotix, the photojournalism network.

Herrmann added: “I’m incredibly proud of what we have managed to build in the past few years. It’s a media company that started as a one-man band in Manchester during the pandemic and now has journalists working across three cities, with a fourth to start very soon.