Online brokerage TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts speaks in 2012 during a ceremonial unveiling of his portrait at company headquarters in Omaha, Neb. (Nati Harnik/AP)

The Gothamist network of local news websites announced Thursday afternoon that it would be shutting down, including the DCist site in Washington.

DNAinfo in New York will also shutter. The announcement comes about a week after its New York writers voted to unionize.

By 5 p.m. Thursday, all websites in the network — which includes LAist, SFist, Chicagoist and Shanghaiist — were redirecting to a note announcing the closures from chief executive Joe Ricketts.

Ricketts, a billionaire who founded TD Ameritrade, started DNAinfo in 2009 and purchased the Gothamist network of sites this year. The sites attract millions of visitors each month.

“But DNAinfo is, at the end of the day, a business, and businesses need to be economically successful if they are to endure,” Ricketts wrote in the note to DNAinfo and Gothamist readers. “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.”

The closure of DCist, which was started in 2004, will leave a void in the local media scene in the nation’s capital. The site is known for its incremental and fast-paced coverage of local happenings, and the often-punchy voices of its writers.

In the hours before it was shut down, the site’s three full-time writers and editors — Rachel Sadon, Rachel Kurzius and Christina Sturdivant — had written on topics ranging from House Democrats suing to obtain documents on Trump International Hotel to a piece informing readers of how to dispose of Halloween pumpkins to be turned into food.

The archives initially were unavailable on each site, but were restored on Friday.

Gothamist is the latest local news organization to show that building loyal readership isn’t always enough to turn a profit. Borderstan, a D.C. neighborhood site focused on neighborhoods filled with millennials, closed in 2016.

“Local advertisers didn’t really flock to the site like readers did,” editor Tim Regan said at the time. “Our readership is growing, but everything costs money, and that includes running a local news website.”

The city’s alt-weekly, Washington City Paper, was put up for sale last month and its future remains unknown.

Kurzius, DCist’s associate editor, penned an article Thursday about the best blogs and news organizations to find D.C. coverage. That article is no longer available on the DCist website.


DCist and other Gothamist websites displayed this note Thursday evening. (DNAinfo/DCist)