Gothamist, sister sites are back, thanks to public radio stations

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NEW YORK — Gothamist and its sister sites in Los Angeles and Washington are back, WNYC announced Friday, nearly four months after the websites were shut down shortly after employees voted to unionize.

New York Public Radio made the announcement because, it reports, WNYC and two other public radio stations will take over Gothamist and sister sites LAist and DCist.

The deal was largely funded by two anonymous donors, WNYC reports.

WNYC will acquire Gothamist’s archives, domain name and social media assets. LAist will be operated by KPCC in Pasadena, Calif., while public radio station WAMU in Washington will acquire DCist.

New York Public Radio President and CEO Laura Walker stated:

“For more than a decade, Gothamist served as a source of trusted local news. … That resonates with us at WNYC, where we are committed to telling stories rooted in New York and that matter to New Yorkers. 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.”

Details of the integration are not yet known because the size of the donation is still private, Gothamist founder Jen Chung told Wired.

Wired reports WNYC initially plans to run Gothamist as a parallel site, with stories by Chung, WNYC staff, and eventually new and former Gothamist staffers.

Gothamist, its sister sites and DNAinfo were shut down in November, a week after employees voted to unionize.

Newsroom workers initially agreed to join the Writers Guild of America East, but then-Chief Executive Officer Joe Ricketts refused to recognize the union. They joined the union after a late October vote.

Though Ricketts  did not mention the unionization as a reason for the closure, a spokesperson for the Writers Guild said “it is no secret that threats were made to these workers during the organizing drive.”

In a letter posted to both sites, Ricketts cited economic reasons in his decision to shut down.

In another controversial move, Ricketts initially blocked access to Gothamist and DNAinfo archives.