A new Voice

ATLANTA — Last November, the nation lost unique treasures in the life of the LGBT community. On Nov. 16, Southern Voice’s parent company, Window Media, closed shop and subsequently filed for bankruptcy. Window Media’s decision to close also shuttered the doors of The Washington Blade, The South Florida Blade, David and 411 Magazine.

Atlanta’s LGBT community was left without a news outlet for the first time in over 20 years, according to former SoVo editor Laura Douglas-Brown, who now serves as editor of The Georgia Voice. In D.C., The Blade’s 40 year publishing history was stopped dead in its tracks.

In the aftermath of the debacle, staff left over from SoVo began planning the launch of a new publication. Douglas-Brown worked with original SoVo founder Chris Cash and fundraising efforts were put into place.

Now, four months later, The Georgia Voice is hitting the streets. Its first print issue was distributed March 19.

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Douglas-Brown told qnotes the wait and journey were well worth it.

“We’re starting from scratch, that means we are basically building everything from the ground up,” she said. “Certainly that is a challenge, but on the other hand it is an opportunity to look at all the ways we used to do things at Southern Voice — the kind of stories we covered, the way we handled the website — and really ask ourselves how we can improve and offer a more relevant news outlet for our readers.”

The new Voice will be published bi-weekly, or every other week. Douglas-Brown said the new paper will take advantage of differences between online and print publishing.

“We are really wanting to create a separation between our web and print products,” she said. “As much as I love daily printed news, I think that is a publication whose time is probably passing. With the weekly news cycle at Southern Voice, the actual turnaround time for the paper really gave you three or four days. It was hard to keep up with the breaking news happening on the web and offer readers something in print rather than just a compilation.”

Douglas-Brown said The Georgia Voice’s print product’s focus on in-depth features, investigative news and forward-looking pieces will provide readers context often missing in a 24/7 news cycle.

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While the staff of the new Georgia Voice is filled with anticipation and happy to get their first print edition to the streets, they’ll likely face competition from owners of Gaydar. As old Window Media assets were sold off, Gaydar stepped in and bought SoVo and David archives and the rights to use the names. According to ProjectQAtlanta.com, they plan on relaunching Southern Voice on March 24 or 31. A relaunched Gaydar-turned-David hit the streets March 11.

The Georgia Voice had also bid on the assets. They lost out to Gaydar/David, but Douglas-Brown said her new project never depended on acquiring old SoVo assets or its name.

“We feel very strong about the team we have put together for The Georgia Voice, which includes both the original founder of Southern Voice and myself as a long-term writer and editor,” Douglas-Brown said. “Of our seven staff members, four are immediate past employees of Southern Voice and six of the seven worked for Southern Voice at some point in the paper’s history.

“We’re very confident of the product we’ll put out,” she concluded. : :

info: thegavoice.com

This article appears in the March 20-April 2 print edition.

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Posted by Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.