Gothamist Saved by Anonymous Donors, Returns With Public Radio Partnership

Local news sites will start publishing again this spring


Four months after going offline, Gothamist is back from the dead.

The New York-based local news site, along with its network of affiliates around the country, including LAist, will start publishing new stories this spring thanks to funding from two anonymous donors, Wired reported on Friday. Gothamist, LAist, and DCist — along with DNAInfo — will operate with the support of public radio stations in their respective hometowns: WNYC in New York, KPCC in Los Angeles, and WAMU in Washington, D.C.

“We want to tell stories that inform, inspire, and connect Angelenos to one another. That’s what KPCC is dedicated to providing, and that’s what LAist was doing when it shut down in November,” said KPCC Chief Content Officer Kristen Muller in a statement.

The deal was spearheaded by Gothamist founders Jake Dobkin and Jen Chung, who will return to lead the site, according to Wired. The Gothamist network was quickly shuttered in November, after employees voted to join the Writers Guild of America, East. About 115 people lost their jobs, and the sites’ archives were pulled down. At the time, CEO Joe Ricketts said “businesses need to be economically successful if they are to endure.”

“I think you can imagine how we felt,” Dobkin told Wired about Gothamist’s sudden exile. “It was unexpected. We tried to do our best to improve the situation and bring something positive out of it, and we did.”

The money needed to get the Gothamist operation back online was undisclosed. The sites’ archives will return to the web under their new public radio caretakers.

Update: The WGAE issued the following statement following the announcement:

“The Writers Guild of America, East has continued to work with the journalists from Gothamist and DNAinfo who voted overwhelmingly to bargain collectively with us last year–people whose thorough, hard-hitting local journalism has been sorely missed since its owners and officers shuttered the companies.  As work resumes under the auspices of WNYC, WAMU and KPCC, it is our hope that the Gothamist and DNAinfo employees who made the site essential are all able to resume their work.”