Public Radio, Donors Revive Gothamist Websites

LOS ANGELES (CN) – Public radio stations in Los Angeles, Washington and New York and two anonymous donors will revive three websites formerly part of the Gothamist Network, abruptly closed this past fall by their billionaire owner.

In November 2017, the Gothamist Network was shut down by its billionaire owner Joe Ricketts, taking along with it several online publications including the sites LAist, DCist and Gothamist which reported stories in their respective markets.

Ricketts owned the Gothamist Network for less than a year before he abruptly shuttered the network. A week before the closure, reporters in New York voted to unionize. But more than 100 reporters across the country learned they were out of work when all the websites went offline all at once.

A former Gothamist employee who spoke on condition of anonymity said they were not aware of the deal to revive the alternative websites, but are interested to know if the radio stations will honor the union efforts employees took in New York.

Employees with DNAinfo and Gothamist waged a public campaign to get management to recognize their union. Reporters wanted to diversify their newsroom and provide job security, but they never made it to the bargaining table as Ricketts shut down the websites with a public letter posted online over their stories.

On Friday, public radio stations announced the revival of at least three of the blogs. According to Pasadena, California, public radio station KPCC, two anonymous donors purchased the three websites for an undisclosed amount, along with a sister site.

When the deal was made public Ricketts said in a statement: “The most important thing for me was to make sure the assets went to a news organization that would honor our commitment to neighborhood storytelling.”

The alternative blogs will go back online this spring.


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