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I was heartened to see the Washington City Paper’s coverage of William Waybourn and Window Media’s pernicious takeover (and union-busting) of several gay media interests (“Blade Runners,” 4/12).
As a freelance journalist for gay media since 1981, I will be the first to say that most gay newspapers are sloppy when it comes to financial matters. Few ever turn a profit, much less break even. But when I was writing for the now-defunct New York Native in the ’80s, and receiving $15 per article, I could take comfort in the notion that I was contributing to our liberation.
Window Media had a mission, ostensibly, to harness and revivify several gay newspapers. But it seems its focus was merely on the bottom line. It overlooked the fact that gay newspapers have been tribal drums for our community. Only the short-sighted and avaricious would close down a paper simply because it was in the red. For years, gay newspapers across the country have operated in the red, or at an anemic profit, but they changed lives. I suppose this perspective is beyond the ken of most capitalists.
The gay activist community has always had issues with money. We need our sensibilities overhauled, to be sure. A pity that Waybourn, in his zeal to show us that good gay politics and good finance can co-exist, has contradicted himself. He and his cronies owe our community an apology.
High Falls, N.Y.