Monday, November 16, 2009

Company that owns Washington Blade, and some other gay papers, shuts down

Television station WJLA, ABC affiliate in Washington DC, reports at noon Monday Nov. 16, 2009 that the company that owns the Washington Blade is shutting down immediately. That company is Window-Media (link, no relation to Microsoft's product); and as of noon today none of the links to papers that the company owns were working; all were timing out.

The WJLA story appears to have come from the AP (by Dorie Turner) and the web url link is here.

The Washington Blade had operated since 1969, when it opened with a one-page entry.

No details are available yet as to the reasons for the shutdown, but they could well be economic.

It would sound plausible – I would say likely -- that the local papers would be able to restructure locally and continue and resume operating. That would include the Washington Blade, which is very important to the LGBT community. I will monitor this and see what I can find out, or if I could do anything about it. I’d have to get down to Lambda Rising in DC and see what is going on.

If the Blade cannot continue operations, that leaves Metro Weekly web url (link) as the major LGBT paper in the Washington DC area. As of noon Monday it did not have this news yet.

Here is a more detailed account on She-Wired, with discussion of SBA issues, by Laura Vess.

NBC Washington has a story "Washington Blade Suddenly Shuts Down; Blade's Parent Company Closes," by Jim Iovino and Abbey Lee, link here. The story predicts a new employee-owned paper.

Update: Nov. 17

The Washington Post has a front page story by Paul Schwartzman "Gay weekly Washington Blade closes: Storied 40-year-old paper among sister publications abruptly shuttered", link here.
WindowMedia's equity holder, Avalon Equity Partners, had been placed into receivershio by the Small Business Administration, and WindowMedia was forced into Chapter 7 liquidation to attempt to pay off creditors. In such sudden circumstances, a publication can be closed immediately because its physical assets are seized. That can make it even harder for employees to reopen a publication, althouugh new digital assets are much less expensive today to purchase new. It is possible for publications to close suddenly because of various kinds of legally binding events. The Window-Media website was not functioning Tuesday morning.

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