Update: DNAInfo’s website & archives are now being made available.
This is a sad day for Chicago media, as it is being reported currently that neighborhood news stalwart DNAInfo will cease publication immediately after owner Joe Ricketts published a note explaining the site’s end, along with NYC-based Gothamist. All current or former DNAInfo links currently redirect to the note.
The move by the brother of Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts is a worrisome one that leaves the city without one of it’s most consistent news outlets at a time when the medium couldn’t be more important and when we are left with dwindling options for well-done journalism. The fact that the Ricketts have been repeatedly cited as supporters of Donald Trump and right-leaning politics, one has to wonder what the true reasoning for the site’s closure could be.
More than anything, it’s the loss of an important resource for all of us who seek to tell the city’s stories in one way or another (many of my own news stories cite DNAInfo often) and is yet another punch in the gut for the city’s media and writing community. As mentioned above, all links to previous and current articles redirect to Rickett’s note, which makes accessing any former stories writers may have done for them completely unaccessible, a huge problem in the digital publishing space when attempting to get new jobs. The news also comes in the wake of DNAInfo employees choosing to unionize last week, a sentiment that surely didn’t sit well with the ultra-conservative Ricketts.
In the last ten years, media companies here in Chicago have been systematically gutted. What was once a proud newspaper and magazine town is quickly falling to the hegemonic idea that we don’t need news organizations. With the Sun-Times perpetually fumbling between owners, the Tribune (or ‘TRONC’) being sold off piece by piece and now the failure of DNAInfo, one has to wonder what the future of Journalism looks like locally.