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National online gay news publication Queerty shuts down operations and other queer media struggles

I've always loved their tagline

I just heard yesterday that one of my favorite sources for national/international LGBT news, Queerty, ceased to exist with only the vaguest of explanations. This is what they say on their site:

After more than five years of serving the LGBT community with news and entertainment, Queerty has come to a close. The decision to shutter the site was not an easy one to make, and it is with great pain that we say goodbye to our loyal readership. From all of Queerty’s writers and contributors, from our first unto our last day, thank you for spending some time with us.

Today I found some explanation from 365’s Jennifer Vanasco, who reblogs from Queerty (and Jossip) founder David Hauslaib:

Some five and a half years ago I launched my second blog, Queerty, after seeing an opening for a new type of LGBT site. It joined Jossip, and would son be followed by two sister sites. That journey has come to an end: Queerty is closing.

Along the way, Queerty has grown to reach an audience of a million visitors each month, driving the international news cycle and fostering conversations among and about gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. I’m very proud of the work Queerty accomplished, covering news and entertainment, music and culture, politics, celebrity, career, sports, and sex. Most of all, it is Queerty’s readers and contributors who have been the site’s biggest asset, fostering an online community that agreed with each other as often as not. Reading the conversations among readers, and the email sent in, was always a delicious perk.

As many of you know, last year Queerty partnered with the folks at 353Media to handle its operations. I transitioned out of my original role to make time to tackle some unrelated projects, and a trusted crew took the reins. Sadly last week, in a scenario that began with some technical headaches, has ended with 353 opting not to continue operating the site. It is a decision I was saddened to hear, and I worked to find an amenable solution that would keep Queerty online. That effort was unsuccessful.

I have watched web properties that I launched come to an [sic] close before, but Queerty’s end is certainly one of the hardest to see.

What’s more disheartening are all the other LGBT blogs and publications that are struggling and threatening to close down. There’s the recent demise of BlogActive, esteemed regional weeklies like The Chicago Free Press, and  the weekly print version of The Advocate. Recently, the Bilerico Project mentioned that they had thought about shutting down, as has Pam’s House Blend.

Local print publication Just Out even came close to shuttering a couple years ago when most of the staff quit (and some of us stepped in to save them) and the slow economy saw an advertiser exodus. Indeed, of this 2009 article on the “explosion” of local queer media, only qPDX still exists.

No-longer-a-best-kept-secret lezzer blog Autostraddle has been recently wrestling with how to stay open and this conversation between two Editor’s, posted on their Tumblr, basically echoes what goes through my mind about qPDX as well:

Riese:
i think this is the part where we have to quit laneia
Laneia:
should we put the ‘we need help’ post up
Riese:
we need to figure out a way to make autostraddle a “project” so that we can make a kickstarter campaign. can you go read the faq and tell me if you have any ideas.
Laneia:
ok. i will read the faq.
………..
Laneia:
this is not when we quit
Riese:
are you reading kickstarter
Laneia:
it seems like if we could figure out how to word it
like, it can’t be just ‘fund autostraddle’
Riese:
right
Laneia:
i don’t know what that point would be
Riese:
me neither. what we’re doing now. is the point.
Laneia:
where do people get money
how does gawker have money
Riese:
they sell ads, they charge a ton for ad space.
that’s how they make almost all of their money
Laneia:
i want an ad people
Riese:
the ‘we need help’ post needs more info in it cuz i never finished it
which is telling

Since this convo they’ve raised over 13,000 dollars. Damn. So I think they’ll survive. Though I’m excited to get one a 15 dollar donation, I think we’ll survive too, because I work like a mofo and Portland queers are just too awesome not to cover. We don’t have a Kickstarter project yet, but I have a great idea in the works. In the meantime, you can donate to qPDX (the link is for $35 but you can donate any amount. We have a few suggested donations, with their irreverent uses, in the donation widget on the lower left right below the skyscraper ad). And hey, what’s the price of a drink for consistent, local, thoughtful and provocative queer news, reviews and events? I do this for all you lovely people.

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