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. photo: San Diego's Trolley
    Transportation

    Out of Darkness, Light Rail!

    In an era of austere federal funding for urban public transportation, light rail seemed to make sense. Did the little trains of the 1980s pull their own weight?

  2. Equity

    What ‘Livability’ Looks Like for Black Women

    Livability indexes can obscure the experiences of non-white people. CityLab analyzed the outcomes just for black women, for a different kind of ranking.

  3. Design

    Why Amsterdam’s Canal Houses Have Endured for 300 Years

    A different kind of wealth distribution in 17th-century Amsterdam paved the way for its quintessential home design.

  4. photo: San Francisco skyline
    Equity

    Would Capping Office Space Ease San Francisco’s Housing Crunch?

    Proposition E would put a moratorium on new commercial real estate if affordable housing goals aren’t met. But critics aren’t convinced it would be effective.   

  5. Design

    Before Paris’s Modern-Day Studios, There Were Chambres de Bonne

    Tiny upper-floor “maids’ rooms” have helped drive down local assumptions about exactly how small a livable home can be.

×