Shake up at Gothamist as WNYC axes editor-in-chief

Three years after being rescued by listener-supported WNYC radio, NYC-focused website Gothamist suffered a jolting round of layoffs on Friday that cut loose its editor-in-chief.

“My incredible 15 year journey with @Gothamist came to an end today. I was laid off,” tweeted editor-in-chief John Del Signore. Gothamist’s City Editor Christopher Robbins, who started as a reporter four years ago, also tweeted that he had been let go.

It’s unclear how many staffer were cut in the Friday afternoon axing but WNYC reporter Gwynne Hogan tweeted that it extended beyond De Signore and Robbins.

“@WNYC and @Gothamist laid off some of the sharpest, most hard-working journalists I know today. Literally the people that glued the place together. @ChristRobbins @johndelsignore and others who haven’t posted,” she wrote.

Both men were survivors of Gothamist’s near-death experience in 2017 when Joe Rickets, the billionaire founder of TD Ameritrade whose family owns the Chicago Cubs, pulled the plug on it and sister website DNAinfo.

The two websites were shut down and their staffers were laid off en masse one week after they voted to unionize in October 2017. Rickets at the time said running a website “is, at the end of the day, a business, and businesses need to be economically successful if they are to endure.”

A few months later, in February 2018, WNYC swooped in to rescue Gothamist. Two other public radio sites acquired companion sites LAist and DCist. WNYC said the deals were funded by “two anonymous donors.”

Both Del Signore and Robbins say they are now looking for work.

“Please do send any work leads my way!” Robbins said.

“DMs are open if you know of any work editing, writing, plate spinning, etc.,” De Signore said.

Goli Sheikholeslami, the CEO of New York Public Radio, the parent company of listener-supported WNYC, didn’t return requests for comment. Del Signore and Robbins could not be reached.

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