Tags: dnaInfo | gothamist | shut | union | vote

DNAInfo, Gothamist Shut Down After Editors, Reporters Vote for Union

DNAInfo, Gothamist Shut Down After Editors, Reporters Vote for Union

DNAInfo, Gothamist owner Joe Ricketts (Nati Harnik/AP)

By    |   Friday, 03 November 2017 12:50 PM

DNAinfo and Gothamist news websites were shut down on Thursday, a week after some reporters and editors in the combined newsroom had voted to join a union, The New York Times reported.

The closure left 115 people in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington and New York City without jobs, the New York Daily News reported, noting that 27 employees in New York had voted on Oct. 27 to join the Writers Guild of America East.

Previous articles on the websites were also taken down but an official at DNAinfo told the Times that the work would be eventually archived online.

Joe Ricketts, the founder of TD Ameritrade who owned the two sites, issued a statement on the DNAInfo website on Thursday praising the journalists for their work, but he said in the end the operations did not make the money needed to be sustainable.

"But more important than large numbers of visits and fans, we've reported tens of thousands of stories that have informed, impacted, and inspired millions of people," Ricketts said. “And in the process, I believe we've left the world a better place.

"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," he continued.

DNAinfo told the Daily News that staffers will get full pay and benefits until Feb. 2.

"There's a gap in local news and people want to know what's going on in their neighborhood and we were helping to do that," DNAinfo reporter Ben Fractenberg told the Daily News.

Ricketts, whose family owns the Chicago Cubs, stated his position against unions in a post on his blog site in September.

"I believe unions promote a corrosive us-against-them dynamic that destroys the esprit de corps businesses need to succeed," Ricketts said. "And that corrosive dynamic makes no sense in my mind where an entrepreneur is staking his capital on a business that is providing jobs and promoting innovation. That's why the type of company that interests me is one where ownership and the employees are truly in it together, without interference from a third-party union that has its own agenda and priorities."

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DNAinfo and Gothamist news websites were shut down on Thursday, a week after some reporters and editors in the combined newsroom had voted to join a union.
dnaInfo, gothamist, shut, union, vote
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2017-50-03
Friday, 03 November 2017 12:50 PM
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