blade

 

By Richard Perez Pena (via nytimes)

Washington Blade and several other gay newspapers and magazines around the country learned on Monday that they had been shut down after a federal agency that oversaw them was unable to find buyers for them.

The abrupt closing of The Blade and several other gay newspapers stunned their employees.

The Blade, founded in 1969, was considered one of the most influential publications written for a gay audience. The closing came as a surprise to employees, who had expected a reorganization or sale, not a liquidation.

“We found out when two of the corporate officers were waiting for us when we got to work this morning,” said Kevin Naff, editor of The Blade. “It’s not a complete surprise. The abruptness of it was what was surprising.”

The paper’s approximately 20 employees “are determined to come back and make a go of it as an independent entity,” he said. “Our first meeting is tomorrow.”

The publications belonged to Window Media and Unite Media. The parent companies had been owned by the Avalon Equity Fund, which bought them with assistance from the Small Business Administration. Last year, the S.B.A. said Avalon did not meet certain capital requirements, and took control of the fund as a court-appointed receiver. It sought unsuccessfully to sell the assets.

In a statement released on Monday, the S.B.A. said Window and Unite had ceased publication. It also said, “The S.B.A. as receiver for Avalon does not anticipate any recovery on Avalon’s investment totaling more than $7 million in Window/Unite Media.” The agency recently closed another publication controlled by Avalon, Genre magazine.

Calls to Avalon and Window were not answered. A law firm representing the S.B.A. in the matter declined to comment. The S.B.A. would not comment beyond its statement.

Employees at Southern Voice, a gay paper based in Atlanta and owned by Window Media, found their offices locked on Monday and a note posted on the door saying that the company had ceased operations. It told the workers to return on Wednesday with boxes to collect their belongings.

Other publications owned by the company included The Houston Voice, The South Florida Blade, David Atlanta magazine and 411 Magazine.

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