April 29, 2008
More signs of gay media trouble?
Posted by: Chris
As if all the recent drama over at PlanetOut wasn't enough, blogger-journalist Michael K. Lavers posts today about signs of trouble at HX Media, Inc., which recently shuttered its HX Philadelphia title and now may be struggling in Boston:
The long-time office manager [at the New England Blade/HX New England, formerly IN Newsweekly] left a few weeks ago, and rumor has it additional terminations and resignations have once again left the newspaper scrambling. This writer anecdotally saw HX Media CEO Matthew Bank's away message on his Facebook profile as 'is going to Boston' over the weekend. Something must be going on in the Hub!
Mike also has the whole backstory, including the angry departure of three long-time freelancers late last year, and the subsequent legal drama when the paper's associate publisher and two sales reps planned their launch of a rival pub while still employed by HX.
HX Media, Inc., is something of a cousin company to Window Media LLC, the company I co-founded with William Waybourn in 1997. Mike has some pretty harsh words in his post today about the way HX founder Matthew Banks has run things since his company merged with the New York Blade some years back.
I've never met Banks, though I do know firsthand the trials and tribulations -- and the sometimes daily draaaaamaaa -- of running local gay publications on a shoestring budget. I also know the perils of trying to group those publications together and still remain faithful to local readers and advertisers.
To the reckoning of Mike, a former New York Blade staffer himself, and many others closer to the action, Banks and the HX team in New York haven't struck that balance in Boston or even with the New York Blade. In the midst of a recession and slowing print ad sales, let's hope the critics or wrong or the HX ship rights itself -- for the sake of the communities they serve.
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