April 26, 2010 at 4:31 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Washington Blade returns this week

The Washington Blade, the 40-year-old publication which served as the LGBT community’s newspaper of record, will return to newsstands Friday after its former parent company filed for bankruptcy and closed the paper.

Since the newspaper’s closing, former Blade staff members have produced a new print and online publication under the name DC Agenda, which is owned by Brown Naff Pitts Omnimedia, Inc. The new company was founded by Publisher Lynne Brown, Editor Kevin Naff, sales executive Brian Pitts and other former Blade employees.

Brown Naff Pitts Omnimedia has no connection with Window Media, LLC, the Blade’s former parent company that shuttered the newspaper and several other LGBT publications it owned at the time of its bankruptcy filing in November.

DC Agenda recently announced the acquisition of all assets of the Blade, the nation’s oldest LGBT newspaper, from a federal bankruptcy court in Atlanta. The purchase included the Blade name, all trademarks and copyrights and the entire 40-year archive.

The Washington Blade was founded in 1969 as a one-sheet newsletter distributed in D.C.’s gay bars before evolving into an award-winning newspaper and web site with a national and international readership.

“For more than 40 years the Washington Blade’s commitment to excellence in journalism made it a weekly ‘must read’ for the LGBTQ community locally and even worldwide,” Naff said. “This is the tradition we have tried to emulate with DC Agenda. We are thrilled that the Washington Blade is once again owned locally.”

“There are benefits to the brand recognition of a publication that was highly trusted and respected for 40 years,” said Brown, a Blade employee for 23 years.

“The power, effectiveness and strength of the Washington Blade came from the spirit and intensity of those who wrote the stories and worked with the local community,” she said. “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.

“It doesn’t get any better than this.”

Naff and Brown said the decision to return to the Washington Blade name followed a survey of readers, which showed a solid majority in favor of restoring the Blade name.

Naff said the new company is working to restore online access to the paper’s electronic archive as soon as possible.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

  • Terrific news! Congratulations.

  • I know many of the readers of The Washington Blade will wait with baited breath for the return of “The Blade”. Although I have still followed under “DC AGENDA”. I see the name has already been switched on twitter. When the archives return, old as well as new readers will have plenty to rejoice about. Congratulations to Ms. Brown, Mr. Naff and all of the others who stuck it out.Job well done!

  • Hmm, who did you ask? Not me…

    I think DCagenda is more contemporary, political sounding, ironic and pointed, compared to: those beltway washingtonians and their cutesy “gay blades” (cue George Hamilton). Plus, yours was an awesome story, setting up shop again as DCagenda almost without skipping a beat. Plus plus, nothing beats a new product, and you had a fresh one there with DCagenda, forged in the heat of necessity, no better creative process.

    Let’s see, now your sections will be “National Blade”? District Blade? Social Blade?

    OTHER than that: thanks for keeping up on all the news & views. With “weirdos” like the Moonies who run the Washington Times (to get back at their slurs at us and ENDA), it’s a fight. Actually, knowing what the Moonies are capable of, someday it may REALLY become a fight. Who knows ;)

    • The survey was up on the website for a few weeks. Anyway, the dcagenda format is remaining. Basicly, the paper now is dcagenda with the Washington Blade on it.

      I’m happy the name is back, and the format of dcagenda will continue!

  • Welcome back!

  • While I wish the Blade much success, I have to agree with Peter the saint. I found the DCagenda to have a much more contemporary look and feel. I had gotten used to it, and preferred it.

  • Congratulations! This is great news. And many thanks for all your hard work in keeping the gay press in business here in DC

  • Congratulations, welcome back, and hey, don’t ever do that again. Nice to have you back in full form and here’s to many more years. :)

  • Congratulations to your staff! I am thrilled that you regrouped and reopened your paper. From out here in the middle of the country, it’s good to have your Web site for national gay news.

  • I read you have your archives sitting in filing cabinets???…I suggest Brown Naff Pitts Omnimedia, Inc. get those archives digitized soon to keep them forever!

    Congratulations, Brown, Naff, & Pitts !!

  • I liked the look of the DC Agenda. I hope you take the modern look to the new ‘Blade’. If the new logo above is any indication, I am excited about the future of the newspaper. Keep the good reporting, go light on stuff that makes us look bad (escort ads, bitch session).

  • HALLELUJAH !!!!!!

    I am DELIGHTED the the noble “Washington Blade” name is

    Thank you ! Thank you ! Thank you !!!!

    Charles Keener

  • Congrats!!!! I voted for that logo. ;-)

  • Fabulous! You’re back! Thank you for all of your dedicated, hard work! You are his/herstory makers!

  • Excellent news! We hope that the reborn Blade will soon bring back Bitch Session, which has been sorely missed in the community. We offer the fullest possible support.

  • I want to see a better publication than the original Blade was, with less frivolity, increased social consciousness and more dignity accorded to the LGBT community. I don’t want to see Blade staff throw words like “queer” and “bitch” around casually like they did before. If you’re not going to be more serious about what you’re doing, I’m not going to bother reading your copy.

  • How do we subscribe to the print copy…will we still be able to get the Blade at the Metro? (West Falls Church)

  • As a man, who came out with the help of the Blade, nearly 30 years ago,I congratulate the staff of the Blade in regaining local control of “our newspaper.” Today’s youth do not understand how bold and brave the Blade founders were and, like the late bookstore, Lambda Rising, how important you were in establishing and maintaining the Gay community. The Blade was indispensable in letting us know that we were not alone and enabling us to find support organizations and social activities in addition to finding dates.

  • So glad to have you back! Congratulations – you’ve been missed.

  • Congrats… really happy to hear this!

  • I’ve been a reader of the Blade since 1972. I’ve missed you. Welcome back!

  • Yay! I’m looking forward to seeing the new old name again.

  • I am thrilled that “the Blade” is coming back. In particular, I think Kevin Naff is an awesome editor and his return is most welcomed. To Kevin, definitely to the funders and everyone else, congratulations and best wishes. Don’t listen to the community’s nay-sayers!

  • Great news! There’s pleant of room for the fluff stuff that dominated the Agenda, but what Washington and the country need’s is the good, in-depth hard news reporting The Blade bulit its reputation on. I hope you get back to that.

  • Hooray! The Washington Blade site is live again.

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