Local, digital news is getting a boost from public radio.
In a deal announced on Friday, WAMU is acquiring DCist and plans to revive what it calls the “beloved neighborhood news site.”
DCist was shuttered without warning late last year as part of billionaire owner Joe Ricketts’ decision to close the network of local news sites that also includes NYC-based Gothamist, LAist and DNAInfo. The abrupt move was made soon after Gothamist employees voted to unionize.
Now, a trio of public radio stations including WAMU are buying that network from Ricketts.
— DCist (@DCist) February 23, 2018
Archives weren’t immediately available after the shutdown, but eventually returned. The acquisition also includes the archives, internet domains and social media channels for the sites. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the public radio stations said that the deal was funded by two anonymous donors. A release said the sale came after a “competitive process.”
“At a time when local journalism is declining everywhere, we are excited to revive this important news source for our region,” JJ Yore, general manager of WAMU, said in a statement.
DCist, which started in 2004, has provided news, arts, food and event coverage. In a statement, WAMU Senior Director of Content and News Andi McDaniel said the acquisition will help add to its digital presence, while at the same time expanding coverage at the “neighborhood level.”
The site is expected to return this spring.
In the meantime, local entrepreneur and musician Aaron Myers launched his own local site covering news and arts. It started as DCistNOW, but then became TheDistrictNOW after a cease-and-desist from Ricketts.