Shock, sadness over loss of SoVo and David

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imageAs the news spread Monday of the permanent closure of Window Media, the owners of Southern Voice and David, the online reaction to Atlanta’s loss from former staffers and readers quickly went viral.

Even as Project Q Atlanta was posting its first story on the shuttering of operations, former employees just getting the news began to update their personal Facebook and Twitter statuses about it. Our coverage of the story starts here, including links to continuing coverage and quotes from the company’s former employees as well as the local co-president and publisher.

About an hour later, comments as brief as “Wow,” “Devastating,” and “Total Sadness” turned into a flood of support on the Southern Voice Facebook page. A sampling:

Macon Out This is very sad news and a great loss. Thank you for all of your hard work covering news for our community.

Blake Peters I am so over it! I luv you all! xoxo

Lanny Knight I will miss sovo. My prayers are with you.

Nate Copley You all will be sorely missed 🙁

Maggie López It’s the end of an important era, and all the best to everyone who toiled, laughed and persevered there. Can the online version be saved perhaps in some other incarnation?

Dave Silverman How sad that we have lost a long time voice of the community.

Ruth Fleming This is a shock. Always picked this up when I worked in town. It’s more than sad, I think. They were standard bearers.

Chad Darnell I’m speechless. There are no words. SoVo has been a part of my life since high school.

Gay journalists affiliated both with Window Media and other news sources also began posting their reactions.

“Poof! Gone. Nothing left. This is so sad,” writes Michael Alvear, who wrote the “Need Wood?” sex advice column in Window Media publications for seven years and runs his own blog.

“I’m sad to see this particular chapter in my life close. I loved our little magazine, made great friends there, and think we all did a damn fine job,” writes Topher Payne, a local playwright and author whose slice-of-life column appeared in David for more than four years.

With several comments in several places online, Elliott Mackle, a writer and former Creative Loafing columnist, moved through his surprise and sadness to begin using his personal experience to ask the first of inevitable questions and point the first of inevitable fingers about what happened at the publications.

“When the protectors are the abusers, watch out,” Mackle writes in one Facebook comment. “It appears that one group of gay men and women set out to profit from the community but didn’t know what they were doing or how to ride the changes in ad revenue. When they’d had their fill, they sold out to another group who had even less charitable intentions. As minority shareholders, my partner and I got notices months ago that the companies had been taken over by the US Small Biz Administration for liquidation.”

Former AJC Peach Buzz reporter Richard Eldredge’s thoughts went to his fellow journalists. He was “thinking about all the talented writers, editors and designers at Southern Voice and David who arrived at work to discover the locks were changed this morning.”

Community leaders who were often quoted in Southern Voice, including Georgia Equality Executive Director Jeff Graham, AID Atlanta Director Tracy Elliott, Atlanta Pride Events Manager J Sheffield, Outwrite owner Philip Rafshoon and longtime lesbian activist Zandra Conway, were among the supporters posting their thoughts online through Twitter and Facebook.

Jeff Graham: SoVo has been such an important part of the growth in power of Atlanta’s LGBT community.”

Tracy Elliott: saddened by the demise of Southern Voice and David. They were very important elements of the ATL LGBT community, and good people, too. A tremendous loss to the community.

Philip Rafshoon: Our hearts go out to all of our great friends at these publications. They have been tireless supporters of the community & great friends.

J. Sheffield: …having a mixture of emotions today… some exceptionally sad, some exceptionally proud.

Zandra Conway We know times are hard – I was devastated by the news – SOVO the heart of the LGBTQI in Metro Atlanta.

Employees who stuck out hard times over the last several years and were still employed at Window Media began to make their feelings known via online messages as well.

Among some dozen statements from people who worked at the paper up until Monday’s closing, respected editor Laura Douglas-Brown posted a general message on her personal Facebook page that expressed how touched she is by the sheer volume of the outpouring.

“… heartbroken and grateful. To everyone who has reached out to me today after the news that SoVo has shut down, you will never know how much your support means to me, and I will try to respond to as many as possible. I am deeply honored to have been able to work with such a dedicated team and to cover such a vibrant community. Keep fighting, and thank you.

John Nail, production manager at the paper over two other graphic designers, hinted on Facebook that the news may have been a shock on this particular day, but not a complete surprise.

“That dreaded day we feared has finally come: Window Media has ceased operations, closing down Southern Voice and David magazine. There’s much that can be said — about the gay community losing its Voice, about how the staff found out, about being unemployed — but I’ll just say that it’s a very sad day.”

It seems that once a Southern Voice employee, its mission stayed in people’s hearts even if their employment there ended. The following comments are among those from past employees who still feel emotional ties to the publications.

Jason H. Cohen: very sad for his friends and family at Window Media, LLC… through all of the ups and downs, I had a terrific eight years with the Company and it breaks my heart to no end to see this happen; what a great loss for the gay community.

Tray Butler: Sad, but not surprised, to hear Southern Voice and David magazine closed today. It’s the end of an era.

Joan Sherwood: Heartbreaking. I grew up at this newspaper, getting my first real job there as an ad sales person at age 23, and staying until 2000, having held positions in production, and as Production Manager, Art Director, Managing Editor, and Special Publications Editor. Learned some of my hardest and best life lessons there. Met my wife there. Made wonderful friends there. SoVo made the LGBTQ community in Atlanta and the SE stronger, and helped make Atlanta a safer place for queer folks to come and build a life.

Elizabeth Redpath: My heart is breaking for the many individuals – especially the journalists – who gave so much sweat equity and selfless service to the gay community.

Jeremy Faulkner: As a former employee of Window Media it saddens me too. Although, I see this as an opportunity to find new and creative ways to inform our community.

Grant Baldwin: SoVo will be missed. I did a summer internship with y’all in 1992 and I still consider it one of my most important achievements. Over the last 20 years you have been a key part of our community.

Van Gower:My deepest sympathies, love, and thoughts of well-wishes go out to my friends and former co-workers at Southern Voice newspaper and David Atlanta magazine on the abrupt loss of their jobs this morning. It was one of my greatest honors working with you all from ’03 to ’05.

Rob Beck: Sadness

The equity partners in Project Q Atlanta are both former editors at Window Media publications and had the opportunity to work closely with the employees and management. With heavy hearts, we join the rest of LGBT Atlanta in mourning the loss and saluting the contribution of the company’s local publications.

Please {encode=”[email protected]” title=”email us”} or comment below our one of the posts in our continuing coverage to share your personal thoughts and memories.

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