City Paper is not for tourists
For 15 years, Metro Weekly competed against the Washington Blade for its slice of readers and advertisers here in Washington, D.C.
So it was perhaps appropriate that Metro Weekly would issue a statement upon the death of the Blade. You know, something respectful, deferential—-all class. Well, the first paragraph of that statement sure fit the bill. Here’s how it reads:
As longtime members of the D.C. LGBT community, as well as the community of journalists, we are always saddened to see a newspaper or magazine cease publication. While we offer our condolences to the staff of the Washington Blade, we also offer our congratulations on what they and their predecessors achieved over the course of four historic decades of LGBT journalism.
Perfect. Stop right there, Metro Weekly!
But it didn’t stop right there. It included another paragraph, one that essentially robs the first of all its sincerity. Here we go:
All of us at Metro Weekly take great pride in serving our community, and we look forward to continuing our growth as the source for local LGBT news, politics and entertainment.
Choose whatever morbid cliche you prefer. Dancing on the grave. The body isn’t even warm.
The juxtaposition here is just too plain. While the 40-year-old Blade is dead, hey, folks, we’re growing! Talk about finding glee. The point here is that the day on which the Washington Blade got shut down, Metro Weekly is making it all about Metro Weekly. Bad politics.
Co-publisher Sean Bugg says he’s “not going to dance on the graves of any publication…We’re not overjoyed that the Blade is shut down.” At the same time, says Bugg, “I am a businessperson…and from a business perspective, there are opportunities for us, and I intend to fully explore them.”
As might be expected of two teams that bump into one another editorially and advertisorally all the time, Blade and Metro Weekly staffs aren’t terribly fond of one another. Inside the Blade, for instance, Metro Weekly was known as the “gay bar rag.” Bladers considered themselves of a higher journalistic order.
“Obviously I don’t have long, deep conversations with the Blade,” says Bugg. “We’ve been competitors so it’s not like we’ve been hanging out together.”
Kevin Naff, the editor of the Blade as of its last breath, says that he and his colleagues are banding together to found a Blade-like publication as soon as possible. When asked to comment on Metro Weekly‘s statement, Naff said, “Good luck to them.”
When asked to comment on the prospects of Naff & Co.’s startup, Bugg said, “Good luck to anyone who wants to try starting something from scratch” in this market. “I only mean that somewhat sarcastically.”