What to Know
- The local news website DCist is set to relaunch in the spring.
- The public radio station WAMU will sponsor the website's return.
- Two anonymous public radio donors paid for the acquisition of DCist and two sister websites in Los Angeles and New York.
The popular D.C. local news website DCist is set to return after the public radio station WAMU partnered with other stations across the country to purchase the website.
WAMU announced Friday that the station acquired the website and say it will be relaunched in the spring.
"It's a good news day for news," Andi McDaniel, WAMU's senior director of content and news, said.
DCist.com was abruptly shut down in November after reporters and editors of two sister sites, DNAinfo.com and Gothamist.com, voted to unionize. All of the employees were immediately let go, including the three employees at DCist.
Three public radio stations, WAMU in D.C., KPCC in Pasadena, Calif. and WNYC in New York, partnered to buy some assets of New York's Gothamist, Los Angeles' LAist and DCist from Joe Ricketts, the billionaire who owned and closed the company.
Two anonymous donors funded a large portion of the acquisition, a joint press release said.
WNYC led the acquisition, and WAMU only learned of the opportunity a few weeks before Friday's announcement, McDaniel said.
The station had already been looking to expand their online and mobile local news coverage, so they jumped at the opportunity.
"It aligns so nicely with our strategic goals," McDaniel said.
But DCist had already been on WAMU's radar in one respect: the station hired former DCist Editor-in-Chief Rachel Sadon as a producer on the The Kojo Nnamdi Show.
The station is discussing how Sadon will be involved in the new version of DCist, which will mostly look familiar to old fans, McDaniel said.
"The reader experience will be very much the same," she said. "We plan to maintain the brand and the site."
A hard launch date for WAMU's version of DCist will be set later in the process, McDaniels said, after the two companies' technology is integrated and staff are hired.
Three staff will be hired to cover the same issues previously written about in DCist: news, food, art and events. The DCist offices will now be housed in the same building as WAMU, which sits on Connecticut Avenue in Northwest D.C.
The proximity will provide opportunities for DCist and WAMU to cross-pollinate ideas, McDaniel said.
Twitter erupted in celebration as local media observers noted the site was coming back.