Gothamist LLC was the operator, or in some cases franchisor, of eight city-centric websites that focused on news, events, food, culture, and other local coverage. It was founded in 2003 by Jake Dobkin and Jen Chung. In March 2017, Joe Ricketts, owner of DNAinfo, acquired the company and, in November 2017, the websites were temporarily shut down after the newsroom staff voted to unionize. In February 2018, it was announced that WNYC, KPCC and WAMU had acquired Gothamist, LAist and DCist, respectively. Chicagoist was purchased by Chicago-born rapper Chance the Rapper in July 2018.
Type of site
|Available in||English language|
|Created by||Jake Dobkin, Jen Chung|
Early history and other blogs
The namesake blog, Gothamist, focused on New York City, was founded in 2003, by publisher Jake Dobkin and editor Jen Chung. As of June 2014 other blogs operated by the company include LAist (for Los Angeles), DCist for Washington, D.C., Chicagoist, and SFist (for San Francisco) in the United States, as well as Shanghaiist internationally.
Canadian blog Torontoist was launched by the American company, but was transferred to the locally-owned Ink Truck Media in April 2009, while retaining its "-ist" name and remaining affiliated with the Gothamist network. In March 2011, Torontoist was acquired from Ink Truck Media by St. Joseph Media, magazine publishing division of Canadian media giants St. Joseph Communications. As a result the site was not affected by the Gothamist shutdown in 2017, and remained in operation until it was acquired by Daily Hive in 2019.
In 2017, Gothamist and all related blogs were sold to Joe Ricketts, owner of DNAinfo.com. After the acquisition, Gothamist expunged from its archives a number of stories that had covered Ricketts critically. Regarding the removal of Ricketts related content from the site, Dobkin told Jezebel, “Just as Bloomberg doesn’t cover Bloomberg, we don’t plan to cover Joe Ricketts and so we decided to take down our coverage of him. No one asked us to do it. It was a decision made solely by Jen [Chung] and me.”
On November 2, 2017, Ricketts posted to both DNAinfo and the "-ist" network sites that both websites would immediately cease operations, a week after Gothamist writers voted to unionize with the Writers Guild of America, East. All content from all DNAinfo sites and all subsidiary sites were taken down. The next day, archives of the sites were returned to functionality. Ricketts's shutdown was criticized as being a mere act of retaliation after the two companies' workers had joined a union. In the aftermath of the shutdown, laid-off reporters for Gothamist stated that former owners Jake Dobkin and Jen Chung actively cooperated with Ricketts to discourage the union efforts, “It was textbook union-busting stuff.”
On February 23, 2018, public radio stations WNYC, KPCC, and WAMU announced that they had jointly acquired Gothamist and its related sites LAist and DCist. Under the agreement, Gothamist and its sister sites would begin publishing news content again. Additionally, WNYC acquired the archives of Chicagoist and SFist, and Chicago's WBEZ stated that they were exploring an acquisition of the former. WAMU relaunched DCist on June 11, 2018. Gothamist confirmed that Chance the Rapper acquired Chicagoist after he announced it in a new song, "I Might Need Security", on July 18, 2018.
On January 7, 2019, labor union SAG-AFTRA and WNYC announced that they had reached an agreement to recognize more than 25 digital employees of New York Public Radio, including Gothamist staff.
The flagship Gothamist blog has received a number of awards and commendations, including six Bloggies nominations. It was named a "Forbes Favorite", and a BusinessWeek "Best of the Web". In 2007, Gothamist was named blog of the year by Wired magazine and given a Wired Rave Award.
- "Gothamist.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2016-07-06.
- "Media Kit". Gothamist.
- "Shanghaiist". Shanghaiist. Retrieved 23 January 2016.
- Torontoist Is Here To Stay, Torontoist, 8 April 2009
- MORROW, ADRIAN (March 14, 2011). "Torontoist bought by magazine company". The Globe and Mail.
- "Londonist And @LDN Join Forces". Londonist. June 11, 2010.
- "25 Top Money Earning Bloggers" Archived 2016-05-07 at the Wayback Machine. "Income.com". 23 April 2016
- POMPEO, JOE (March 8, 2017). "Joe Ricketts, local news publisher and Trump backer, acquires Gothamist websites". Politico.
- Bonazzo, John (March 8, 2017). "Joe Ricketts' DNAinfo Buys Gothamist, Creating Local News Juggernaut". Observer.
- "Gothamist Deleted Negative Coverage of Its New Owner". Jezebel. Retrieved 2017-03-08.
- Feder, Robert (2 November 2017). "Ricketts shuts down DNAinfo". Retrieved 2 November 2017.
- Newman, Andy; Leland, John (November 2, 2017). "DNAinfo and Gothamist Are Shutting Down". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
- Yanofsky, David (2017-11-03). "DNAInfo's and Gothamist's archives still exist and are likely to be resurrected". Quartz. Retrieved 2017-11-04.
- Nolan, Hamilton (2017-11-03). "Opinion | A Billionaire Destroyed His Newsrooms Out of Spite". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-11-04.
- Heyward, Anna (14 November 2017). "The Story Behind the Unjust Shutdown of Gothamist and DNAinfo". The New Yorker. Retrieved 9 December 2017.
- "WNYC, KPCC, and WAMU Acquire Gothamist Assets". WNYC. Retrieved 2018-02-23.
- Newman, Andy (2018-02-23). "Gothamist Will Publish Again in Deal With WNYC". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-02-23.
- "Three public radio stations acquire Gothamist sites". Current. Retrieved 2018-02-23.
- Schweitzer, Ally (June 11, 2018). "DCist Is Officially Back — And Ready To Breathe New Life Into Local News". WAMU. Retrieved June 15, 2018.
- "Chance The Rapper Bought Chicagoist And Announced It In Newly Released Song". Gothamist. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
- "SAG-AFTRA and New York Public Radio Reach Voluntary Recognition Agreement Covering New Employees | WNYC | New York Public Radio, Podcasts, Live Streaming Radio, News". WNYC. Retrieved 2019-01-25.
- Pereira, Alyssa (February 19, 2019). "SFist relaunches under new owners, brings back two former writers". San Francisco Chronicle.
- "City Blogs". Forbes. Retrieved 10 January 2008.
- See slide number 4 of 13 in Joseph Pisani, Special Report: Best of the Web: Your Favorite Bloggers: BusinessWeek.com readers' Top 12 Choices from the Idiosyncratic World of Blogging", BusinessWeek, accessed January 10, 2008 (slideshow).
- Sonia Zjawinski, "The 2007 Rave Awards", Wired, April 2007, accessed January 10, 2008.