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Washington Blade Quickly Resurrected by Staffers

Imagine showing up for work, ready to get down to the business of drafting and sharing all the LGBT news that fits in the greater D.C. area with your long time readers, only to find that the locks have been changed because your publishing company has shut you down.

That’s exactly what happened to the staff of the renowned Washington Blade this past Monday, one of the longest serving LGBT newspapers in the nation. There wasn’t even a whisper of potential doom when they celebrated their 40th anniversary last month; everything was still full steam ahead as far as they knew.

However, The Blade’s parent company, Window Media, had decided to file for bankruptcy over the weekend. Atlanta’s LGBT publication, Southern Voice, in print for 21 years, was also shut down.

A sign of the times? Evidently last February there were obvious signs of trouble. The major stockholder in Windows Media was forced to liquidate all assets and The Blade, along with all other publications owned by Window Media, had gone into receivership.

Despite this, it was hard for anyone to believe that things would ever get this bad. Afterall, for those 40 years, The Blade had been the mouthpiece for gay pride and the endless pursuit of equality in the metro D.C. area and beyond; through thick and thin, and good times or bad. It made money and was even nationally distributed. Surely, someone would save The Blade if it came down to that.

Well, it did get that bad and it did come down to that, and it even appears that someone may have done just that - stepped in and saved The Blade. Although for now, the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of The Blade are keeping that information - whether it is true or not - close to their chests.

What they are willing to talk about is their desire to keep The Blade alive. A temporary website states, “while we cannot save the name, we can certainly save all that was the essence and spirit of our LGBTQ Community’s newspaper of record.“

The now all-volunteer staff is currently requesting donations (through the make-shift website savetheblade.com) to help pay for printing, distribution, equipment and other costs, so as to quickly reestablish themselves. And they aren't skipping a beat, either.

The current plan is to rename the publication The D.C. Agenda, produce a small paper in limited print distribution (and a concurrent online version) this Friday, with the hopes to have a full-scale paper on the streets by Dec 4th, and to eventually get back up to speed in print as the Beltway's weekly breakdown of regional and national news.

All eyes across the LGBTQ community's national tapestry will be watching in the coming weeks to see how this amazing story continues to unfold.

As a brand-new news media source ourselves, I know that I can speak for my colleagues here at SDGLN.com by saying we hold the staff of The Washington Blade in the highest regard and wish them all the best as they move forward.