The End of Gothamist Is a Terrible Sign for the Future of Local News


Billionaire Class Scumbag

❝ …While on my lunch break, I lost my job as editor in chief at LAist. I’d just finished a bowl of unmemorable office cafeteria chili and was sitting in the lobby of our WeWork when a coworker in New York sent me a three-word text: “Check your inbox.”…there was just a letter from our billionaire owner Joe Ricketts, informing readers that he had made “the difficult decision” to discontinue publishing DNAinfo and Gothamist, our parent site.

…With what appeared to have been the flip of a switch, 116 journalists had lost their jobs, and LAist had been shuttered—along with our four sister sites in New York, Chicago, D.C., and San Francisco, and the DNAinfo sites in New York and Chicago.

❝ The Gothamist and DNAinfo New York newsrooms had formally voted to unionize a week earlier…

❝ Gothamist, LAist, Chicagoist, DCist and SFist each fulfilled critical roles in their cities. Even as our hometown papers faced cuts and layoffs, we continued to cover local and hyperlocal news, find the relevant takeaways in hours-long public meetings, and strive to relay it all in a tone that was frank, compulsively readable, and often funny…There is a much larger loss here, one that should scare everyone (even those who’ve never read an ist site in their lives). At a time when local journalism is more crucial than ever, the closure of our sites effectively amounts to a silencing. There will now be less information for everyone, in each of those five cities.

This wasn’t a case about money. The creep who owned the sites made money on all five. Already a billionaire, Joe Ricketts plays with your money if you invest with TD Ameritrade. And cavort with his favorite politician – our fake president.

Nope. He doesn’t believe that folks who work for a living have the right to bargain collectively, to negotiate income and working conditions – even though that is a right protected by federal law for decades. He’d rather declare the companies he owns to be unprofitable – and close them down.

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