- The Washington Times - Monday, November 16, 2009

The Washington Blade newspaper has shut down after 40 years, but staffers say they plan another publication to serve Washington’s gay community.

Kevin Naff, editor of the Blade, told several news outlets that the Blade staff would meet Tuesday to discuss replacing the weekly newspaper with a similar publication.

“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,” Mr. Naff said in a statement published by Politico.

Window Media, the Blade’s parent company, ceased operation of all its publications Monday, including the Southern Voice, the Houston Blade, the South Florida Blade and 411 Magazine.

Word that the Blade had folded came as a shock to many in the District, given the publication’s healthy circulation and longstanding history in the nation’s capital. Founded in 1969, the Blade celebrated its 40th anniversary in October.

But Window Media, the nation’s largest publisher of gay-focused newspapers, was reportedly struggling with debt. The company plans to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, which indicates that it will cease rather than restructure its operations, Mr. Naff told Washington City Paper.

A person who answered a call from The Washington Times at the Blade office declined to comment except to direct a reporter to the publication’s Twitter feed. The Blade did not return other e-mails and phone calls from The Times seeking comment.

The Blade issued a terse message via Twitter Monday morning: “The Washington Blade, like all Window Media publications, is closing today. Thank you for your support. (Keep following us for developments.)”

About an hour later, the Blade issued another message: “To everyone who’s expressing gratitude, love and support: Thank you. You’re helping stem the tears.”

The message said that the Blade still planned to hold a previously scheduled event at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Hard Rock Cafe.