Creative Loafing in Atlanta is reporting this morning that Window Media — the publisher of the Washington Blade, the Southern Voice and several other gay publications — shut down over the weekend. According to preliminary reports, staffers at Atlanta’s Southern Voice arrived at work today to find the locks changed and a notice on the doors to their offices. The shutdown apparently stems from the fact that a major shareholder in the publications’ parent company was forced into liquidation and faced federal receivership. In any case, it’s a sad day for the gay press everywhere. The Washington Blade has been the LGBT community’s newspaper of record for the last 40 years, and the Southern Voice has played a critical role in the Deep South for the last 20 years. But before anyone sounds the death knell of LGBT media in general, we should point out that this situation had relatively little to do with the the challenges we’re all facing in the newspaper industry or even the deep economic recession. Rather, the shutdown stems from Window Media’s longstanding financial troubles, which were largely a result of mismanagement. Also, despite the fact that some of them share the “Voice” name, none of these publications or companies is affiliated in any way with Dallas Voice, and as of 9:45 a.m. local time, the lights were still shining brightly at 4145 Travis St. Our hearts go out to our counterparts in other places who aren’t so fortunate. If these publications don’t quickly resurface under new names and/or ownership, it would be a huge loss to the LGBT community as a whole.
UPDATE: From the comments below, here’s DV Publisher Robert Moore’s take:
“The long sad saga of Window Media has come to end.
“Bad management and an acquisition strategy that relied on piling up massive amounts of debt during the good times plotted this story long ago. Once the economy tanked, there was no way to prop up the house of cards that Window had become. Finally, the chickens came home to roost.
“It is a very sad day to see such great titles silenced by greed.”