Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Washington Blade rebirth seems to be shaping up quickly; meeting on Wed. night
For those who want to get the latest on the new gay paper in Washington DC, here is the Twitter address (link). Some staffers learned of the demise Monday through Twitter. The latest news (updated late Tuesday) is here. “Hope to see you 6 p.m. Wednesday at Hard Rock Cafe (999 E St, NW). We promise to make it worth the trip.” That is about one block from Landmark’s E Street Theater, which has hosted many films for Reel Affirmations.
I don't know if domain names and trademarks go away with a Chapter 7 liquidation. In this circumstance it sounds counterproductive. I wonder if it is possible for the paper to use the same name and domain after all, since there would be no business entity competing with it (by the very definition of Chapter 7 bankruptcy; it seems like a paradox).
The Washington City Paper has a photo account of the last day at the Blade, here.
The paper will not be able to use the old name, apparently. A new name has not yet been decided. But it sounds likely there will be some kind of new issue shortly after Thanksgiving.
The Washington paper did make a profit, but not enough to save the holding company.
From a financial perspective, this sort of problem was common in the late 1980s with leveraged buyouts on Wall Streets, where profitable operating companies were treated poorly to pay of the leverage of their owners. I went through that when I worked for Chilton, which was acquired by Borg-Warner and then “taken private.” But usually public companies can be carved up into “pieces” and resold. With LLC’s and private companies there is a lot more danger.
Check the Washington Post editorial today "The Blade's hard times: A Washington paper provided a critical voice", link here. The editorial mentions the Blade's archives, which technically the bankruptcy judge could impound. Hopefully the court will release the archvies to the public immediately.
At least I keep all my own archives totally separately. I think I "really" do own them! Bloggers, learn a lesson from this.
The Twitter Account for the Blade changed to "DCAgenda" (it was "WashingtonBlade" before the paper closed). Again, it seems to me that the courts ought to allow them to continue using the name "Washington Blade". From a normal trademark perspective, the name is not valuable to the creditors at all. Attorneys could be working on this.