Monday, November 16, 2009

Newsworthy Gay Media Dies in America

I have known this is coming for days, but due to my dual role as a lawyer have had to shut my mouth as a journalist.

As published on the Steve Rothaus Gay News Blog of the Miami Herald, and as featured in Qweerty, a favorite online gay news site of mine, today spells perhaps, the death knell of credible gay media in America.

The very people that bought up my newspaper, Express Gay News, and acquired other national gay publications with government backed funds, has gone broke.

The publisher of Window Media — which publishes the Southern Voice, Washington Blade, South Florida Blade, 411 Magazine, Houston Voice, David Magazine, and the already deceased Genre Magazine, unsurprisingly closed up shop over the weekend. Their lawyers apparently are filing for bankruptcy protection this week, and may have already. They were already in receivership for defaulting on SBA loans.

I do not know whether it will be reorganization, or the fatal ‘stick a fork in us, we are done’ filing. I am told the latter.

I do know that both in South Florida and Atlanta its employees found out by reading a pictured sign stating that Window Media has shut down. And though while the websites of its publications remain online, there will be no South Florida Blade this week. 411 is at press and will publish, but beginning today, staffers cannot access their office. They can only retrieve personal possessions later in the week.

While Window Media may not survive federal receivership, a group of very motivated businessmen had tendered a very fair offer to purchase 411 and the Blade. They are lucky they did not have to pay for something they now essentially get for free. They are meeting at this moment with 411 and Blade staffers in an attempt to move them to a new publication, Mark’s List Magazine, and keep the bar guide running under a new name with new stewardship as a new startup with no debt. I wish them luck. They will not be burdened by an unnecesary payoff to the federal government and can start their own business under their own name with a clean blank slate. Good for them, but it is a tough market.

For me, I will not sit by and let the credible gay news media collapse in South Florida. I hope other businessmen feel the same way in Atlanta. There is a need for a Washington Blade, Southern Voice, or Express Gay News. There is a place for Hot Spots and 411. There is a need for the Blades. That is the way I feel. That is the way I will act.

This is not a good time for publications anywhere. The Internet rules. Still, the gay community deserves better and can afford newsworthy publications that have stature and credibility. I am going to use my influence any way I can to make it happen.
Conspicuously absent from the press release at
is any mention of the Blade, the news entity I care most about.

Here is what
wrote today, very accurately: “So many LGBT Americans turned to Window's publications — often before they were absorbed into the publisher's umbrella — for the latest digest on local gay news, events, and attacks on the community. These papers were, unarguably, invaluable and this website and its readers have benefited directly from them. When it comes to hyper-local reporting, the various Blade titles were the biggest game in town.”
'While the executives running the company may not be, the titles will surely be missed'.

The burden to keep gay media alive now falls upon someone somewhere.

I will simply not allow South Florida to go without a credible and newsworthy GLBT publication and I am actively soliciting and recruiting partners with me to insure that it happens.

I am privileged that some have already called me and asked me to step into a huge void. I am responsive to the inquiries but business realities have to be explored, evaluated and analyzed before precipitously undertaking such an enormous venture. I will give it my immediate consideration.

Our community cannot allow itself to be measured by bar guides picturing shirtless men holding up drinks in niteclubs. We are too much more to do less.

Ten years ago, starting the Express with a little money and then selling it to Window Media for a lot more, I proved that a credible gay newspaper can prosper in a local community. The road is tougher, and the Net makes it more difficult, but if there is a way to go down that road again, I am prepared to start.

There is no doubt in my mind that a strong and vibrant South Florida community is capable of starting a new Express. In the interim, there is no better place to get your daily fix of gay life than to read Steve Rothaus online. He is our CNN.

News at 11. No, maybe right away. We are on the board nationally, and not in a good way:,2933,575310,00.html

1 comment:

  1. If anyone can do it Norman , You can. Good Luck.