Local news blogs DNAinfo, Gothamist shut down following union vote

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Billionaire and TD Ameritrade founder Bill Ricketts pulled the plug on local news blogs DNAinfo and Gothamist late Thursday, a week after the New York-based newsrooms voted to unionize. “Today, I’ve made the difficult decision to discontinue publishing DNAinfo and Gothamist,” Ricketts said in a statement posted on the sites. “DNAinfo is, at the end of the day, a business, and businesses need to be economically successful if they are to endure.” Ricketts founded DNAinfo in 2009, but the progress made at the digital-news company “hasn’t been sufficient to support” itself financially, he said. DNAinfo bought Gothamist in March. DNAinfo cited the recent union vote in a statement, according to the New York Times: “The decision by the editorial team to unionize is simply another competitive obstacle making it harder for the business to be financially successful.” The sites attracted more than 9 million visitors a month, and included Gothamist operations in Chicago, Washington, San Francisco and Los Angeles. About 155 employees were laid off and will get three months salary, though many reporters complained online that the company deleted the blog archives, potentially making it difficult to show their work to prospective new employers.

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