Washington Blade, SOVO Shut Down

Jim Burroway

November 16th, 2009

Word is spreading around the Internet that Windows Media, publisher of the Washington Blade, Houston Voice, Southern Voice, South Florida Blade and other LGBT news outlets, has gone out of business over the weekend in Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation. SOVO editor Laura Douglas-Brown posted a note on Southern VoiceFacebook page confirming the shutdown:

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.

Project Q Atlanta reports that Southern Voiceemployees showed up to find that the locks had been changed and a note taped to the door, asking employees to return on Wednesday to collect their personal belongings.

This is a horrendous loss to the LGBT community. The Washington Blade began just forty years ago as The Gay Blade, a free one-paged mimeograph newspaper. It grew to become one of the most powerful voices for LGBT issues in the nation, having broken many important stories over the year covering the political beat in the nation’s capital. The editorial and reporting talent at the Blade is one of the best in the industry, and not just the specialty niche LGBT news industry. Few reporters have a Rolodex like veteran reporter Lou Chibarro. (Even fewer are still using a genuine Rolodex as Lou reportedly does.) The talent at that small paper would be the envy of any other publication, LGBT or mainstream. It would be very difficult to overstate the magnitude of this loss.

Timothy Kincaid

November 16th, 2009

This is very distressing.

The Blade and Voice papers are unlike many of the other gay new rags in that they were quite often original sources of news. They broke stories and provided sources and behind the scenes info that no one, NO ONE, else was able to do.

They will be very much missed by me. I cannot imagine how their shoes could be filled. We have lost a very valuable asset in our quest for civil rights.

Adam

November 16th, 2009

I think it’s Lou Chibarro, not Ciabatta. I’m sad to see them go; they had top notch reporters, and were a much needed resource for serious LGBT news.

Adam

November 16th, 2009

Here’s a link to an interview with Lou about his career in LGBT journalism from a couple weeks ago on NPR’s “Tell Me More”

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=114237517

Jim Burroway

November 16th, 2009

I suspected as much. When I posted this, the Blade’s web site was still down, and when I tried to google around to find his last name, that’s what came up, believe it or not. Anyway, I’m glad to have it corrected.

gar

November 16th, 2009

This is really troubling news. It’s not at all good for the community to lose such long-lived institutions like the Blade.

Burr

November 16th, 2009

I really hope they can find some way to regroup. It’s just not a good time for any newspaper, let alone those with a niche audience.

oakland753

November 17th, 2009

According to an article in the Miami Herald by blogger Steve Rothaus, the owners of Mark’s List will be starting a new magazine to replace South Florida’s 411 which the Blade owners also published. In addition, this group will start a new newspaper at least to replace the South Florida Blade. The current employees of the Blade and 411 have already been offered jobs with the new company. So all may not be lost. Change is always difficult, but the world as we know it has not ended boys! Keep your chins up!

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