The Shanghaiist English-language news and culture blog is set to return after disappearing from the internet, along with its archive, two weeks ago. Over 35,000 stories spanning 12 years will be rescued and staff will retain their jobs.
Its US operator DNAinfo closed its eight global city websites on November 3 – a week after writers at its New York branch voted to unionise with the Writers Guild of America, East. Billionaire CEO and owner Joe Ricketts, who purchased the network earlier this year, opposed the move, leaving over 100 staff and journalists out of work.
“We apologize for our silence over the past week as we mourned the sudden demise of the Gothamist network and tried to make sense of what was happening,” a message published by the Shanghaiist on Tuesday night read.
It said that the website was not involved in the union vote and operated independently of the American city blog network: “We received invaluable support from Gothamist over the years in web design and hosting, but on a day-to-day basis had little contact with any of our sister sites.”
After regaining access to the website, it plans to secure the archives, redesign the interface and assemble a tech team ahead of a relaunch.
Managing Editor Kenneth Tan told HKFP that the site plans to seek funding form the public: “All current staff are staying with us, and we hope to launch our crowdfunding in another two to three days.”
Earlier this month, a DNAinfo spokesperson said: “The decision by the editorial team to unionize is simply another competitive obstacle making it harder for the business to be financially successful.”
China news and commentary site The Nanfang closed last December along with viral blog China Smack earlier in the year. The South China Morning Post axed its English-language lifestyle and listings publication HK Magazine last October.