October 15, 2019 at 8:09 pm EST | by Staff reports
Highlights of the Blade’s 50 years

The Washington Blade began in 1969 as a one-page, monthly newsletter compiled by volunteers and based in an activist’s apartment. It now has 17 full-time employees and a sister newspaper in Los Angeles. 

1960s

October 1969: Nancy Tucker, Art Stone and a handful of activists publish the first issue of the Gay Blade. The newsletter, which is published monthly, consists of one side of a letter-size page, printed on a mimeograph machine in Tucker’s apartment. The 500 copies are distributed to the city’s gay bars.

1970s

July 1973: Original editor Nancy Tucker leaves the Blade, calling for interested parties to take over the newsletter. That call is answered by Pat Price, who goes by the pseudonym Pat Kolar. It is also the first time in the Blade’s history that stories contain bylines, although nearly all of them are pseudonyms. • July 1974: After undergoing several size changes, the Gay Blade is printed on newsprint for the first time. It uses a format that is slightly larger than tabloid size, but by November 1974, the paper is reduced to the standard tabloid format that is still used today. • November 1974: The Gay Blade moves into its first offices, located on 20th Street, N.W., in Dupont Circle. • November 1975: The Gay Blade officially changes its name to the Blade, and the newspaper also becomes incorporated as a non-profit corporation under the mantle Blade Communications Inc. • August 1976: The Blade moves to a two-room suite on the 2400 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. • November 1978: The Blade changes from being published monthly to bi-weekly, signifying the growth of D.C.’s gay readership.

1980s

February 1980: The Blade leaves its offices on Pennsylvania Avenue and moves to 930 F St., N.W., above what would later become the 9:30 Club. • October 1980: The Blade re-incorporates as a for-profit, employee-owned business and changes its name officially to the Washington Blade. • October 1984: In celebration of its 15th anniversary, the Blade presents D.C.’s first gay film festival, staged at the Biograph Theatre in Georgetown. • January 1987: The Blade starts the year with a new office, located in the Victor Building at 724 Ninth St., N.W.

1990s

September 1992: The Blade moves again, this time to 1408 U St., N.W. • April 1993: To coincide with the 1993 March on Washington, the Blade publishes its largest issue to date, containing 216 pages. • September 1995: The Blade launches its web site.

2000s

May 2001: The Blade is purchased by Window Media, a gay-owned media company that also owns the Southern Voice newspaper in Atlanta. Chris Crain, a co-founder of Window Media, becomes the Blade’s executive editor and William Waybourn its publisher. • September 2006: Crain leaves the Blade. He is succeeded by Kevin Naff, who remains the paper’s editor today. • December 2007: Lynne Brown is named publisher.  • February 2008: The Blade relocates from U Street to the National Press Building at 14th and F streets, N.W. • November 2009: Window Media’s parent company files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy; Blade offices shuttered. Just four days later, the Blade staff publishes under a new name, the DC Agenda, a weekly placeholder publication. 

2010s

April 2010: Business partners Lynne Brown, Kevin Naff and Brian Pitts purchase the Blade’s assets from the bankruptcy court and re-launch the Washington Blade brand. The new parent company is Brown Naff Pitts Omnimedia and its offices move to 1712 14th Street, N.W. October 2010: the Blade Foundation, a new 501(c)3, debuts to raise money to digitize the full Blade archive. January 2011: BNPO launches a new business unit, Azer Creative, a boutique marketing firm. March 2017: BNPO launches the Los Angeles Blade, a sister publication headed by publisher Troy Masters and later adds veteran journalist Karen Ocamb as news editor. 2019: The Blade announces plans for a yearlong celebration of the paper’s 50th anniversary culminating with an October 2019 gala.

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