Gothamist news sites brought back to life by public radio

Posted February 23rd, 2018

NEW YORK — 

Gothamist, a pithy news website covering New York City shut down last year after reporters unionized, and satellites in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., are getting a new life thanks to public radio.

Public radio stations WNYC in New York, KPCC in Los Angeles, and WAMU in Washington announced the purchase Friday. They said that the acquisition was funded largely through two anonymous donors and stations partners.

"We are committed to telling stories rooted in New York and that matter to New Yorkers," said Laura Walker, president and CEO of New York Public Radio. "As we've seen a decline in local journalism in even the largest metropolitan areas across the country, even at a time when it's so vital, we remain committed to strong, independent reporting that fills the void."

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Gothamist, LAist and DCist will re-launch in the spring.

For about a decade, the sites in the three cities along with others around the country offered quirky takes on city life, from news to restaurant reviews to to-do guides. Gothamist was purchased last year by Joe Ricketts, the billionaire owner of the Chicago Cubs and local news sites DNAinfo.

About a week after New York staffs voted to unionize, Ricketts shut them all down, calling it a business decision. He said combined daily news reports were sent to a half-million email addresses.

The deal also gives the public radio stations control over story archives, internet domains and social media sites from DNAinfo, as well as Chicagoist and SFist in San Francisco. WNYC officials said they were exploring ways to find new homes for those sites to "ensure the kind of quality local news" they provided to their communities.

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