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Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
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Posts for April, 2010

The Blade Is Back, Part 2

Jim Burroway

April 30th, 2010

And it looks fabulous!

The Blade Is Back!

Jim Burroway

April 28th, 2010

The venerable Washington Blade, which abruptly closed last November following the bankruptcy of it’s parent company Windows Media, will return to newsstands in the Washington, DC area this Friday.

After the newspaper’s closing, a new paper dubbed DC Agenda appeared on the scene operated by a new company founded by Blade Publisher Lynne Brown, Editor Kevin Naff, sales executive Brian Pitts and other former Blade employees. That new company, Brown Naff Pitts Omnimedia, Inc., this week announced that they successfully purchased all of the Blade’s assets from a federal bankruptcy court in Atlanta. The purchase included the Blade name, all trademarks and copyrights and the entire 40-year archive.

The Blade began more than 40 years ago as a single page mimeographed newsletter, and over the years grew to become one of the most powerful voices for LGBT issues in the nation. The Blade is particularly credited for having broken many important stories while covering the political beat in the nation’s capital. Protecting that legacy is one of the most exciting prospects of this announcement. Blade Publisher Kevin Naff says that new company is working to restore online access to the paper’s electronic archive as soon as possible.

Update: Southern Voice, the Atlanta-based paper that also closed with Windows Media’s demise, is also attempting a resurrection. It’s return however has been a bit more troublesome. Only one issue has hit the streets and already they are looking for their third news editor.

Forty Years of LGBT History Is Now Safe

Jim Burroway

February 26th, 2010

It was a horrendous loss when the venerable Washington Blade went belly up last year. While the paper itself was thriving and profitable, it’s parent company, Windows Media, was a financial disaster. The Blade had become the LGBT paper of record for the nation’s capital, and with its tremendous access to Congress and administration figures, I don’t think it’s too much of an exaggeration to say that the Blade was the nation’s paper along the lines of the New York Times or Washington Post on LGBT issues.

Today, the paper’s successor, DCAgenda, announced that they have successfully purchased the print and electronic archives and other assets of the Blade, ensuring that this historical treasure will be in safe hands.

Save The Blade

Jim Burroway

November 18th, 2009

The staff of the Washington Blade now have an online presence here. You will soon be able to buy a brick here. They say that they will have a modest premiere of their new publication on Friday, Nov. 20. However modest that issue might be, it will still be a remarkable achievement, and indicative of the tremendous talent and drive of everyone at the Blade. It’s no wonder the Blade has been such a vitally important news source not just for Washington, but for the LGBT community nationwide. These are the people who made it so essential.

Publisher Says He Won Bid to Buy Washington Blade Before Shutdown

Jim Burroway

November 17th, 2009

A Washington, D.C.-area LGBT publisher has confirmed that his company had been in the process of purchasing the Washington Blade and working toward a seamless transfer when the current owner, Window Media, abruptly ceased operations.

Window Media had been in receivership with the Small Business Administration. Nicholas Benton, owner of the weekly Falls Church News-Press confirmed in a press release that his company, Benton Communications, had won a bid in September to purchase The Blade “for purposes of a seamless perpetuation of the nation’s oldest gay community newspaper.” Benton says that he was contacted by agents representing Window Media and the SBA in late September and informed that his bid was accepted. He said that the process to complete the sale continued until Nov. 6.

“Everything was in place, although moving slowly, to make the seamless transition we hoped for. But I remain unaware of what happened, and as a result of Monday’s events, The Blade is gone after 40 years of publication, its employees are out of work, and the nation’s and region’s LGBT community has been stripped of an invaluable institution.” Benton said.

So far, there has been no word yet on why Window Media and the SBA suddenly shut down The Washington Blade and other newspapers, including Southern Voice, The Houston Voice and The South Florida Blade. Miami-based Multimiedia Platforms had been negotiating the purchase of The South Florida Blade, but has announced that they will now launch a new newspaper after hiring the former employees at the defunct paper and 411, a companion magazine.

Former Washington Blade editor Kevin Naff has said that he and other staffers plan to investigate starting a new paper. The Blade ran a profit as a standalone publication within Window Media, but not a large enough profit to keep the parent company out of bankruptcy.

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.