Atlanta, D.C. gay pubs cease operation

Southern Voice, Washington Blade, other Window Media pubs shut down

Originally published: Nov. 16, 2009, 10:42 a.m.
Updated: Nov. 16, 2009, 4:30 p.m.

Photo Credit: Matt Hennie / ProjectQAtlanta.com

Photo Credit: Matt Hennie / ProjectQAtlanta.com

ATLANTA — The nation’s largest chain of LGBT news and entertainment publications is shutting down.

News broke Monday morning that Atlanta’s Southern Voice newspaper and David magazine had shuttered their doors. As employees made their way to work, they found the office’s locks changed and a letter informing staff of the closure taped to the door, according to ProjectQAtlanta.com.

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“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, taped to the front doors, read.

All Window Media publications will cease operation, including The Washington Blade, which recently celebrated its 40th anniversary. Other Window Media properties include The South Florida Blade, Houston Voice and 411 Magazine. The company had already shut down its national magazine, Genre.

Window Media had a stake in HX Media’s New York Blade. It was shut down earlier this year. That company’s HX nightlife glossy was later sold to another LGBT nightlife publication in the city.

Southern Voice Editor Laura Douglas-Brown confirmed the paper’s closure on Facebook this morning: “With deepest regret, as editor of SoVo, I have to tell you that we arrived at the office to learn that our parent company, Window Media, has shut down. While the 20 years of SoVo have come to an end, our civil rights movement is only beginning. I am personally grateful to all of the staff, and to all of you who have had the courage to share your stories. It has been the honor of my life to help you tell them.”

Washington Blade staff confirmed their closure on Twitter: “Washington Blade, like all Window Media publications, is closing today. Thank you for your support. (Keep following us for developments.)”

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Window Media/Unite Media executive David Unger had borrowed some $38 million from the Small Business Administration for his Avalon Equity Firm, a majority stakeholder in the national media company. The loans were to be used in investment for gay media, according to the blog Queerty.com. Window Media was placed into receivership by the Small Business Administration and Unger later resigned from the company.

Former Washington Blade staff, including former publisher Lynne Brown and former editor Kevin Naff, have announced intentions to meet this week for discussions on a “new venture.” They say the former Blade staff is “united.”

info: sovo.com . washingtonblade.com . projectqatlanta.com

More coverage…

The AdvocateWashington Blade Closes

Washington City PaperThe Final Hours of the Washington Blade

LGBT POV — LGBT news writer and blogger Karen Ocamb speaks former Blade editor Kevin Naff

On-going coverage: ProjectQAtlanta.com has special, on-going coverage of the Southern Voice’s closure: www.projectqatlanta.com

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Posted by Matt Comer

Matt Comer is a staff writer for QNotes. He previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015.

4 Replies to “Atlanta, D.C. gay pubs cease operation”

  1. Sad.
    But not that unexpected. I wrote for their Florida paper for about two years and it was not a well run place.
    The Florida paper had a superb editor~~he was fired and replaced by a reality TV star who had no business running a newspaper.
    I left two weeks after that.

    Thank God we still have publications like Q Notes and
    Bay Area Reporter in San Francisco.

  2. Well look at this. Some good news in the news after all. Maybe a few more of these nasty newspapers will go bankrupt. 🙂

  3. Perhaps I am an oddity. I am not pro-gay nor anti-gay, I see them as people first. I myself am hetero, but have friends and family who are gay and care for them as much as I do for any family. Woe be unto anyone who harms one of my gay family.

    I feel the closing is perhaps a sad event. In addition to the lost jobs, consider people with the gay mindset. These publications may have given them emotional support. I am sure it will be missed by them.

    This might indicate to the anti-gay of America there are too few gay people to support a publication and keep it in circulation. I guess the jury is still out on that issue.

  4. As a print media veteran who took a buyout from a newspaper last year, I sympathize with the displaced employees. Sad, but not surprising, that the publisher gave them no notice. Incidentally, that action may violate the government’s W.A.R.N. Act — I hope the Labor Department investigates. The closings amount to a double whammy for the LGBT community. Mainsteam print media are cutting back on staff and news pages, and gay coverage is one of the first “frills” to be sacrificed. Struggling corporations with tight ad budgets probably are reducing their feel-good diversity ad campaigns as well. That means LGBT journalism increasingly will revert to a volunteer effort, one that’s very hit-or-miss. Some of it will be excellent, and blogs will help fill some of the gap, but overall there will be fewer reliable watchdogs to challenge the prejudice and inequality we face. We also need professional media to track our own movement, to root out the deals that our own advocates, so-called, are striking with government officials and corporations. If the surviving shred of journalism degrades into just headlines about Levi Johnston’s new porn career, we will have entertainment, but nothing we can honestly call news.

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