The oldest LGBT newspaper in the country will hit the stands again this Friday after going bankrupt in November 2009. It has been publishing under a different name since then.
The Washington Blade has chronicled the gay rights movement since its inception in 1969. It is considered America’s gay newspaper of record, reporting LGBT news locally, nationally and internationally. When Window Media, the parent company of The Washington Blade, went bankrupt back in November, the weekly newspaper continued to produce under the name D.C. Agenda. Former editor Kevin Naff indicated that due to emotional ties, however, reinstating the original name of the publication was important.
In February, members of the Blade’s old staff purchased the company and all its assets, including copyright, trademark, archives, computers and office furniture for $15,000, according to The Washington Post. Brown Naff Pitts Omnimedia, founded by publisher Lynne Brown, Naff, sales executive Brian Pitts and other former Blade employees, is the new company that bought the Blade.
The Blade’s 40-year mission of community service and quality, award-winning journalism will continue,” Naff said in an interview with The Washington Post.
As the Blade returns to newsstands on Friday, the D.C. Agenda will not disappear – the revamped Blade will use it as the title of the arts and entertainment section of the paper.
Naff also told The Washington Post that he expected a warm reception for the restored paper.
“A lot of people really have an emotional connection to the Blade, and the outpouring since it closed was overwhelming and was really what led us to carry on,” Naff said.
Brown highlighted goals for the new version of the paper on the Blade’s Web site.
“We now have the opportunity to both restore and refresh a powerful, venerable news gathering institution and to make the treasure trove of our vibrant gay rights and liberation movement history accessible to the public,” Brown said.
Naff is optimistic that the paper’s supporters will help the Blade be successful its second time around.
“We are expecting an increase in readership as we re-launch. We’ve never had more readers and there’s never been more news to cover than now,” said Naff.
However, like any other newspaper, the Blade will have to face the challenge of surviving in a dying industry of print news. Figures released by the Audit Bureau of Circulation last Monday show that average weekday newspaper sales are down by 8.7 percent from last year.
Naff still thinks the Blade can handle the challenge with the help of its readers.
“The Blade is no different from any other media outlet in that we must continue to innovate, adapt and engage our audience to thrive,” Naff said.