Ending its long slog toward death, Window Media, the company that publishes a number of gay newspapers throughout the country—including the country's oldest, the Washington Blade, in D.C.—has ceased publications of all their titles.
Window Media owns the Southern Voice and David in Atlanta, the South Florida Blade and 411 Magazine in the Fort Lauderdale area, the Houston Voice, and the Washington Blade, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in October (and where I worked for a number of years). This morning Atlanta gay blogProject Q Atlanta reported that a sign had been placed on the office of the Southern Voice and David, stating, "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." In a sad indignity, employees are told to return to the office on Wednesday with boxes to pick up their belongings. We hear that employees are currently huddled in the parking lot in Atlanta, not sure what to do with themselves and dealing with the local media that has come to report on the closure.
Though the Washington Blade is still online visiting the websites for any of the company's titles lead to an error message, and no one is answering the phones at the Washington Blade. Several gay websites are reporting the Blade is also closed. The Blade's website posted a notice on Friday looking for an editorial intern, so this must have been quite a surprise to all employees. A call to the Blade's editor, Kevin Naff, was not returned. Update: The Blade staff just confirmed the closure on the newspaper's Twitter.
Window has been in financial trouble for some time, and was placed in receivership by the Small Business Association in February because it violated it's contract with the SBA and didn't have capital from individual investors equaling half of the $38 million it had borrowed from SBA. It's not a shock that this happened and, without niche newspapers in major markets, the gay media will continue to move online, just like everyone else. It's sad to see a big gay landmark close—especially one with the reputation for excellence that the Blade had—but isn't that the greatest form of equality?