Writers at DNAinfo and Gothamist had voted to unionize last week. Scott Heins

It’s been a rough couple of weeks.

It’s been a few weeks of reckoning yet again with the future of local media.

The Baltimore City Paper published its last print edition the week before Halloween (though a new publication is coming in its place), the Washington City Paper is up for sale, and Thursday provided the kicker.

The network of city news sites collectively known as Gothamist and DNAinfo abruptly went dark, to the surprise not only of readers to but of most of the staff, also.

CEO Joe Ricketts, who started DNAinfo in 2009 and bought Gothamist and its network of sites (Chicagoist, LAist, SFist, DCist, and Shanghaiist) in March 2017, announced the closure a week after the staff voted to unionize, in a statement that read: “DNAinfo is, at the end of the day, a business, and businesses need to be economically successful if they are to endure.”

“I'm hopeful that in time,” Ricketts added, “someone will crack the code on a business that can support exceptional neighborhood storytelling for I believe telling those stories remains essential.”

The next day, Spirited Media (which owns similar sites Billy Penn, which covers Philadelphia; Pittsburgh’s The Incline; and Denverite in Denver), announced it would also lay off five journalists.

Help us tell the story of what these publications mean to cities. What's the best thing local publications like Gothamist, DCist, Chicagoist, LAist, SFist, Shanghaiist, or alt-weeklies have done for your city?

To get the wheels in your head turning, here are a few Twitter tributes already circulating:

Help us out? Comment here, Tweet at us, comment on this post on Facebook, or send me an email (link below my name here.) While the sites were completely replaced with Ricketts’s note on Thursday and Friday, the archives have since been restored—so please send us links, too!

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A toxic site in Niagara Falls, New York, seen from above.
    Environment

    The Toxic 'Blank Spots' of Niagara Falls

    The region’s “chemical genies” of the early 20th century were heralded as reaching into the future to create a more abundant life for all. Instead, they deprived future generations of their health and well-being.

  2. A Soviet map of London, labeled in Russian.
    Maps

    The Soviet Military Secretly Mapped the Entire World

    These intricate, curious maps were supposed to be destroyed. The ones that remain reveal a fascinating portrait of how the U.S.S.R. monitored the world.

  3. Navigator

    The Gentrification of City-Based Sitcoms

    How the future ‘Living Single’ reboot can reclaim the urban narrative ‘Friends’ ran off with.

  4. Equity

    The Story Behind the Housing Meme That Swept the Internet

    How a popular meme about neoliberal capitalism and fast-casual architecture owned itself.

  5. Rockingham Speedway in North Carolina
    Photos

    A Highway to Progress, Foiled By Old Values

    A Carolinian drives along a familiar road to make sense of what exists in between the South’s most regressive and progressive narratives.