Washington, DC, news publication DCist shut down abruptly Thursday. Joe Ricketts, the billionaire whose DNAinfo bought DCist’s parent company, Gothamist, earlier this year, shut down all the company’s websites days after employees voted to join a union. Visitors to the DCist homepage are now rewarded with a letter from Ricketts about the difficulties of maintaining digital publications in today’s media economy.
A DNAinfo spokesperson told the New York Times that “The decision by the editorial team to unionize is simply another competitive obstacle making it harder for the business to be financially successful.”
One DCist employee tells Washingtonian she found out about the closure by refreshing the homepage and seeing Ricketts’ letter. The letter contains no information about what will happen with DCist’s archives.
Ricketts’ publicist did not immediately reply to a request for an interview. Gothamist founders Jake Dobkin and Jen Chung have not yet replied to interview requests.