This weekend I noticed that the websites of the Washington Blade, Southern Voice, and several other titles published by Window Media had not been updated in a few days. Just now, Southern Voice posted this message to their Facebook fan page:
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.
Among the affected titles are the weekly newspapers Washington Blade, Southern Voice, South Florida Blade and the bar guides David Magazine and 411 Magazine. (Earlier this year, Window Media ceased publishing Genre Magazine.) Window Media’s primary investor, the Avalon Equity Fund, has been in receivership over a loan from the Small Business Administration.
This is a terrible loss. In particular, the Washington Blade has been an invaluable resource for important coverage of LGBT legislation news out of the nation’s capital. This and most LGBT news blogs have relied on the Washington Blade for timely reporting on issues not always covered by the mainstream media. The question now is whether anybody will step forward to rescue any of these publications. Let’s cross our fingers.
UPDATE: The Washington Blade has confirmed its demise via Twitter.
UPDATE II: There’s at least one survivor: South Florida’s 411 Magazine will begin publishing next week as Mark’s List.
UPDATE III: Predictably, the Freepers are celebrating.
UPDATE IV: Politco reports that Washington Blade editor Kevin Naff is hinting at a new life for the publication.
Naff, who is not authorized to speak for the company, but can do so now as an independent citizen, tells POLITICO: “The Blade staff is united and ready to continue the paper’s long-standing mission. The first meeting for our new venture is Tuesday and we welcome the community’s input as we move forward.”
UPDATE V: Insiders at the South Florida Blade say they will be relaunching the title under a new name with the company taking over 411 Magazine.
UPDATE VI: Washington City Paper covers the final day at the Washington Blade.