Longtime activist retires from publishing job in Washington

Posted on 03 Feb 2006 at 12:32pm
By Tammye Nash – Staff Writer

Former president of Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance plans to pursue other interests after 9 years leading Window Media



William Waybourn

Longtime activist William Waybourn, formerly of Dallas, has retired as president of Window Media, the GLBT publishing company he cofounded in 1996.

In a statement released by the company on Jan. 20, Waybourn said he is stepping down as president to pursue other interests but will remain as an investor in the company. In a statement e-mailed to Dallas Voice this week, Waybourn said he will remain available as a resource for Window Media, “but my focus will be elsewhere.”

In the Jan. 20 statement, Waybourn said, “I am grateful to the people who played such important roles in building Window Media into what it is today. It’s unfair that I will get much of the credit for their hard work to make our publications the best in the gay press and the alternative press as well.”

Chris Crain, executive vice president for editorial and production with Window Media and co-founder of the company, said Waybourn had guided the company and its publications “through good times and bad.”

“We are grateful for his leadership and wish him all success,” Crain said.
Matt Hennie, editor of Window’s Southern Voice in Atlanta for the last five years, has also announced he is leaving the company, effective Feb. 3, to take a job in the communications department for the Atlanta Regional Commission.

Prior to moving to the Southern Voice, Hennie was editor of the Houston Voice, another Window Media publication. “It was a good opportunity that opened up for me, and I decided it was time to make a change professionally,” Hennie said in an e-mail statement this week.

Crain said he has “the utmost respect” for Hennie, and that he is disappointed to see him leaving Window Media. Longtime Southern Voice staff member Laura Douglas-Brown will replace Hennie as editor, he said.

Waybourn is being replaced as Window Media president by Peter Polimino, chief financial officer of Avalon Equity Partners, a New York-based investment fund that invested in the company five years ago.

“I look forward to building on the growth of Window Media under William Waybourn’s tutelage,” Palomino said in the Jan. 20 statement. “These publications are well positioned to enter the new media age in a way that serves their unique readership while delivering excellent return to their investors.”

Waybourn said Crain had the original vision for Window Media, and he credited Avalon, specifically its principals, Polimino, David Unger and Ben Brandes, for having “paved the way for the dream to come true.”

“After [Sept. 11], we shared a lot of tough times together, and I will miss the camaraderie that grew from that crisis that affected every industry, but especially newspapers,” Waybourn said.

Waybourn, who spent about 10 years as an editor with daily newspapers in Texas, was a high-profile leader in Dallas’ GLBT community in the 1980s and early 1990s.

He was president of the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance and co-owner of Crossroads Market, and played a role in the formation of the AIDS Resource Center.

After leaving Dallas in the early 1990s, Waybourn co-founded the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund and worked as executive director of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

Waybourn and Crain, heading up a group of small investors, formed Window Media in 1996 with the purchase of Southern Voice in Atlanta, the Houston Voice and other gay media properties. In 2001, the company added to its holdings with the purchase of the Washington Blade and its sister paper, the New York Blade.

E-mail nash@dallasvoice.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition of February 3, 2006

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