Local news sites DNAinfo and Gothamist shut down

DNAinfo and Gothamist have both shut down, a week after reporters and editors at the local news sites unionized.

Their archives seem to have disappeared — if you visit either front page, or any article, you’re redirected to a letter from CEO Joe Ricketts (pictured above), who trots out some growth numbers before saying:

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.

This is the end of a 16-year run for Gothamist, which has been my go-to source for neighborhood news since I moved to New York, and which was acquired by DNAinfo earlier this year. The closure will result in layoffs for 115 journalists, according to The New York Times.

Was this a direct response to the staff’s decision to unionize? Well, Ricketts is a vocal opponent of unions, and a DNAinfo spokesperson didn’t exactly deny that the two things were related: “The decision by the editorial team to unionize is simply another competitive obstacle making it harder for the business to be financially successful.”