Anne and I were at a protest last week at Lurie Children’s Hospital to join our friend Pidgeon Pagonis and other intersex activists protesting unnecessary surgeries on intersex children.
As far as I can tell, DNAinfo was the only mainstream media present and reporting on it.
It is an example of why DNAinfo served as a valuable source of street level information.
The problem is that DNAinfo was owned by a right-wing union-hater, Joe Ricketts.
Media reporter Robert Feder describes Ricketts as “patriarch of the family that owns the Chicago Cubs, has been losing money on DNAinfo since he founded the hyperlocal digital news service in New York in 2009 and expanded it to Chicago in 2012. He added Chicagoist in March.”
But losing money in the short term has always been the business model of an internet company. It took Facebook five years to make a dime.
What Trump supporter Ricketts wouldn’t tolerate is journalists working for DNAinfo joining a union. So when his New York workers voted to join one, he shut the entire nation-wide operation down.
The loss of work for hundreds of writers and journalists heading into the holiday season is cruel. The loss of a street-level information source is a shame. We need more outlets for information, not less.
It is why I am concerned about what went on in Washington the other day where internet information is controlled by a smaller number of multi-billion dollar companies and where the government is threatening tighter controls.
Meanwhile, there needs to be a growing independent media.
As the journalist A.J. Liebling said, “Freedom of the press belongs to those who own one.