I don’t think it is as simple as “the point of a newspaper is to make money for its owners” in this day and age. Billionaires galore own media outlets far and wide. Some certainly are in the game to make money. Others are in the game for other agendas, or simply to push pure propaganda with their platforms, perhaps with a long-game angle on moneymaking through influence and lobbying, or perhaps just to impose their vision and will on society. Some are just there for vanity.
Everything about Ricketts’s role in Gothamist shuttering is a little questionable. He acquired Gothamist earlier this year, in March. In November, he shuttered it. Who makes a legitimate acquisition of a media enterprise, one where talks of unionizing are already circulating, only to shutter it later the same year with declining profit expectations on account of unionization as the excuse?
Nobody does that.
I think there are a few salient facts to consider when analyzing this decision. First, Gothamist had previously published articles critical of Ricketts. Those were removed immediately upon his takeover of Gothamist, but he was obviously sore about them. Second, as you point out, he wasn’t a fan of unions. This leads me to suspect pettiness at the heart of this matter. On the one hand, he got to punish people who criticized him and, on the other hand, he got to teach workers a lesson that they shouldn’t even think about unionizing, because as soon as you start to consider it, he will buy your company then shutter it when persist in following through.
Who knows. Maybe some journalist will find some facts and get the truth of the matter out there.