QNotes

goqnotes.com

QNotes

Not for Reproduction

M E D I A

Gay papers, mags shut down

in D.C., Atlanta, Florida

Washington Blade, Southern Voice,

others cease operation as parent

company files for bankruptcy

by Matt Comer . Q-Notes staff

Publisher Lynne Brown and other former

staffers are moving full steam ahead with a

new incarnation of a D.C-based LGBT news

organization. The first, modest issue of The

D.C. Agenda was distributed on Nov. 20. They

6 NOVEMBER 28 . 2009 • QNotes

Not for Reproduction

WASHINGTON, D.C./ATLANTA —

When staff at the Southern Voice came to

work on Nov. 16, they expected to begin

another work week, unlike any of the others

before it, chronicling the life and times

of Atlanta’s LGBT community. It wasn’t

meant to be.

Southern Voice Editor Laura Douglas-

Brown and other staff found the office’s

locks changed and a short letter taped to the

front door.

“It is with GREAT regret that we must

inform you that effective immediately, the

operations of Window Media, LLC and

Unite Media, LLC have closed down,” the

letter read, instructing staff to return in two

days to collect their personal belongings.

In the nation’s capital, staff at the 40-

year-old Washington Blade were met by

two corporate officers as they filed in to

their fifth floor suite in the National

Press Club Building just blocks from the

White House.

Owned by Window Media, Southern Voice

and Washington Blade were being shut down

for good, along with their sister publications

David magazine in Atlanta and the web-only

Houston Voice, as well as Unite Media’s South

Florida Blade and 411 Magazine in Ft.

Lauderdale, Fla.

ProjectQAtlanta.com, a news and entertainment

website begun in September 2008 by

a former editor and staffer at Southern Voice,

was among one of the first LGBT news outlets

to report the closures.

Douglas-Brown told the website her

thoughts were with current and former staff,

as well as the community.

“Of course, I’m personally reeling as is all

of the staff,” she said.“What is the most tragic

and breaking my heart the most is that this

publication that so many people for the last 20

years have put in so much hard work and has

received so much support from the community,

that it has reached this point.”

While Atlanta staff were kept shut out of

their offices, Washington Blade staff met with

Window Media officers Steve Myers and Mark

Kitchens who said the team had until midafternoon

to clear out their space at the

National Press Club Building.

Reporters and other staff, including

decades-long veteran reporter Lou Chibbaro,

Jr., set out upon the daunting task of packing

up and moving boxes full of papers, old photos

hanging on the walls, personal mementos

and awards.

Former Blade Editor Kevin Naff,

Photo Credit: Matt Hennie / ProjectQAtlanta.com

hope to be up and running on a full press by

their Dec. 4 issue.

Window Media’s and Unite Media’s

downfall was preceded by other closures in

the corporate gay news giant’s portfolio.

Earlier this year, Window Media announced

the closure of Genre, its national gay men’s

magazine. New York Blade, partly owned by

HX Media and in which Unite had a stake,

ceased publication this year, as well. HX

Media’s other property, a glossy gay nightlife

mag of the same name, was sold to a New

York City competitor.

In addition, the New

England Blade,formerly

IN Newsweekly

was also shuttered.

Window

Media/Unite Media

CEO David Unger, who

resigned from the company in July, had borrowed

some $39 million from the Small

Business Administration for his Avalon

Equity Firm, a majority stakeholder in the

national media companies. The loans were to

be used in investment for gay media, according

to the blog Queerty.com. Placed into

receivership by the Small Business

Administration, Avalon’s financial troubles

seems to have spelled the end for Window’s

and Unite’s several brands.

The staffofFt.Lauderdale’s 411 and South

Florida Blade are also regrouping. Multimedia

Platforms LLC has absorbed the former publications’

staff. They will publish the new Mark’s

List Magazine and a bi-weekly, features- and

lifestyle-oriented newspaper.

The staffofthe new D.C. Agenda have set

up SavetheBlade.com. They will publish

updates there, along with the first few issues of

the new newspaper. Community members can

also buy “virtual bricks” at $1 each to help

support the new venture. ◗

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines