Gay weekly D.C. Agenda sets a memorable date: The return of The Washington Blade

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By Dan Zak
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The District's long-running gay weekly will resume publishing under its original name, the Washington Blade, at the end of this week, after the acquisition of the Blade's assets in bankruptcy court in Atlanta.

In late February, staffers bought the newspaper's name, copyright, trademark, archives, computers and office furniture for $15,000. Twenty-five thousand copies of the first edition of a redesigned Blade will hit the streets Friday.

The 40-year-old newspaper -- founded as a one-sheet newsletter in October 1969 just months after the Stonewall riots in New York incited the modern gay rights movement -- has published weekly editions under the name D.C. Agenda since Nov. 20, four days after parent company Window Media declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy and ceased operations. Working with half the staff of the Blade (which last year had 24 full-timers) and an array of freelancers, D.C. Agenda also relied on the generosity of lawyers, accountants, advertisers and readers from around the world, many of whom contributed pro bono or financial support, according to editor Kevin Naff.

"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 says. "We'll be a leaner publication and we'll grow as we can afford to grow, but Friday's issue, as of now, is 56 pages, which is remarkable considering Agenda launched with eight pages."

The acquisition replants Blade ownership in the District under Brown Naff Pitts Omnimedia Inc., which Naff, publisher Lynne Brown, sales executive Brian Pitts and other staffers formed in January to publish D.C. Agenda.

The Blade is currently renting office space at the Metro D.C. GLBT Community Center on 14th Street NW.

Plans are under way to find a more permanent newsroom headquarters, to restore 10 years of digital archives on www.washblade.com, and to find a suitable home for its print archives, which chronicle 40 years of the gay rights movement and are kept in two dozen filing cabinets.

The moniker "D.C. Agenda" will live on inside the Blade as the title of its arts and entertainment section.


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