Gothamist and DNAinfo Shutdown
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Gothamist and DNAinfo Shutdown refers to the events leading up to and fallout from the sudden closure of the websites Gothamist, DNAinfo and their subsidiaries. The sites' owner Joe Ricketts stated that he closed the website for financial reasons, while others speculated that Ricketts was retaliating against a vote to unionize the outlets one week prior.
On October 27th, 2017, the New York-based local news sites DNAinfo and Gothamist successfully voted in favor of joining the Writers Guild of America East, a labor union representing writers throughout America. While the newsroom celebrated the victory, Joe Ricketts, the site's owner publicly stated his opposition to unionization in a blogpost entitled "Why I'm Against Unions At Business I Create" on September 12th, 2017.
One week after the vote, Ricketts announced via statement on DNAinfo that he would be shutting down DNAinfo and Gothamist and its subsidiaries, which he purchased in spring 2017. In a latter addressed to DNAinfo and Gothamist readers, he wrote, "But DNAinfo is, at the end of the day, a business, and businesses need to be economically successful if they are to endure. And while we made important progress toward building DNAinfo into a successful business, in the end, that progress hasn't been sufficient to support the tremendous effort and expense needed to produce the type of journalism on which the company was founded."
Among the first to report on the closure, The New York Times stated that Ricketts' decision left 115 people without work throughout the company. Those employees would be receiving three months paid "administrative leave" and four weeks of severance pay. The paper also reported that "the news took the newsroom by surprise." While paper repeated the issues that Ricketts pointed out in his statement, the Times also reported that the shuttering may have been the "final straw" for management on the union debate. One Gothamist reporter, Emma Whitford described it as "textbook union-busting tactics."
Online, people shared their thoughts about the closure, primarily the surprise announcement and the sudden removal of both sites' backlog of content. Bloomberg reporter Kim Bhasin tweeted (shown below, left), "The DNAinfo website just shows a message. The Gothamist website appears to be totally down. Are the archived stories gone forever?" Similarly, Noah Kulwin, the technology editor for Vice News, tweeted, "dnainfo/gothamist reporters now doubly fucked because their websites -- with all their clips -- are gone. imagine applying for a new job now." The (shown below, center) received more than 650 retweets and 1,400 likes before being deleted.
Others online, lashed out at Ricketts for his decision. Slate political correspondent Jamelle Bouie tweeted, "joe ricketts is worth more than 2 billion but heaven forbid his employees have a smidgen of economic security." The tweet (shown below, right) received more than 1,900 retweets and 6,600 likes in less than 24 hours.
On November 2nd, Twitter published a Moments page regarding the shutdown and the reaction to it.
That day, the news of the shutdown inspired three threads on the subreddits /r/worldnews, /r/nyc and /r/news/. Within 24 hours, the combined total of points between the threads reached more than 4,000.
Gothamist Archive Retrieval Tool
The following day, a pair of coders who go by @turtlekiosk and @xn9q8h on Twitter released a tool for retrieving the lost Gothamist archive using Google's AMP program caches. The tool allows journalists to put their Gothamist-credited name into a field and scrape the site for clips of their writing. That night, @turtlekiosk tweeted, "🚨🚨🚨🚨 @xn9q8h and i wrote a tool that retrieves Gothamist articles from AMP caches! 🚨🚨🚨🚨 http://kpetrovi.ch/e-clips/. The tweet (shown below) received more than 500 retweets and 770 likes in less than 24 hours.
Several news outlets covered the Gothamist shutdown and the public reaction, including The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, New York Observer, USA Today, The Washington Post and more.
 The New York Times – Gothamist and DNAinfo Newsrooms Now Have a Union
 Joe Ricketts Blog – Why I’m Against Unions At Businesses I Create
 The New York Times – DNAinfo and Gothamist Are Shut Down After Vote to Unionize
 DNAinfo – Joe Ricketts' Statement
 Twitter – @kimbhasin's Tweet
 Twitter – @jbouie's Tweet
 Reddit – Billionaire shuts down US and Chinese news sites after staff join union. Joe Ricketts closes New York’s Gothamist, its sibling DNAinfo and Chinese site Shanghaiist after suggesting he would not accept staff organising.
 Reddit – DNAinfo and Gothamist have discontinued publishing.
 Reddit – DNAInfo/Gothamist Shutting Down
 Twitter – DNAinfo and Gothamist are shutting down
 Twitter – @turtlekiosk
 Twitter -@turtlekiosk's Tweet
 Chicago Tribune – DNAinfo, Gothamist news sites shut down by billionaire Joe Ricketts after union vote
 New York Observer – After DNAinfo-Gothamist Shutdown, More Questions and a Mysterious Twitter Account
 USA Today – After Gothamist: how to read Web pages that have gone to their grave
 The Washington Post – Billionaire Joe Ricketts disappears local websites
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Nov 03, 2017 at 04:14PM EDT
Nov 03, 2017 at 03:34PM EDT
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