All 3 newspapers shut down by Window Media are re-emerging under new ownership

Eight days ago we learned that Window Media had abruptly shut down LGBT publications including the Washington Blade, Atlanta’s Southern Voice and The South Florida Blade. Miraculously, the employees at The Washington Blade managed to put together a new publication in just one week, and the first issue of DC Agenda hit the streets last Friday. Meanwhile, editor Dan Renzi says the South Florida Blade and its sister publication, 411 Magazine, barely missed a beat because they had long anticipated the collapse of Window Media. The South Florida publications have also relaunched under a new owner, Multimedia Platforms. Finally, just today, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Southern Voice editor Laura Douglas-Brown and the woman who founded the newspaper 21 years ago, Chris Cash, are working to start a new LGBT publication in that city. Cash sold the newspaper to Window Media in 1997 and now lives in Texas. She and Douglas-Brown have received a matching grant of $12,000 to launch the yet-to-be named publication.

All of this is great news for those of us in the gay press and for the LGBT community as a whole, particularly in those cities. At the risk of sounding self-important, I think it’s fair to say that gay newspapers have played and will continue to play a crucial role in the struggle for equality. Besides, if it weren’t for actual reporters, what would bloggers (myself included) have to steal?

—  John Wright

UPDATE: Buyer was working on Washington Blade deal

A day after news that Window Media had shut down — closing down The Washington Blade, Southern Voice and its other newspapers and magazines — Cathy Renna with Renna Communications has sent out an announcement indicating that Window’s bankruptcy apparently did not have to mean the end of the Blade:

“In response to media inquiries and an apparent information blackout by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Nicholas F. Benton, owner of the Falls Church News-Press, a Washington, D.C.-area weekly, confirmed today that his corporation, Benton Communications, Inc., had won a bid from parties that included the SBA in September to obtain the assets of the Washington Blade from its bankrupt parent company for purposes of a seamless perpetuation of the nation’s oldest gay community newspaper.

“The Blade was closed without Benton’s advanced knowledge on Monday.

“Benton said he regrets that the negotiations to complete the transfer of ownership failed to be completed, and that as a result he is unable to carry forward the Blade, its legacy, its employees, and its service to its community regionally and nationally.

—  admin

A sad day for LGBT media: Washington Blade, Southern Voice reportedly shuttered

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.”

Robert Moore
Publisher

—  John Wright