GOTHAMIST, LAIST, and DCIST, the popular local news websites shut down by billionaire JOE RICKETTS last NOVEMBER, are returning, thanks to two anonymous donors, and will be operated by public radio stations in their markets. The three stations are acquiring the assets of Gothamist and some of its associated sites, including LAist, DCist, and DNAInfo.
WNYC will run the flagship Gothamist site out of NY, and WAMU in Washington will take over DCist, KPCC said.
According to the acquisition announcement, the deal comes after a competitive sale process, and it was funded by "generous philanthropic donations from two anonymous donors".
"For more than a decade, Gothamist served as a source of trusted local news", said Laura Walker, CEO of New York Public Radio, owner of WNYC. Initially, WNYC plans to run Gothamist as a parallel site, seeded with stories by Chung, members of the WNYC staff, and eventually, a mix of new hires and former Gothamist writers interested in getting the band back together.
Gothamist and its sister sites were acquired by DNAinfo previous year.
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Andi McDaniel, chief content officer of WAMU in Washington, said it felt "like such a natural fit" for the station to acquire DCist.
Joe Ricketts, the billionaire chief executive of LAist's parent company DNAinfo, abruptly shut his network of local media sites in November shortly after editorial staffers at Gothamist and DNAinfo in NY unionized.
"At the end of the day, a business, and businesses, need to be economically successful if they are to endure", Ricketts wrote in a memo posted to the websites at the time. Ricketts, who was vocal about his opposition to unions, said in shutting down the sites that they had not made sufficient progress to "support the tremendous effort and expense needed to produce the type of journalism on which the company was founded".
"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", he said.
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