The Staff of the Chicago Free Press Just Walked Out. Is The Paper Dead?


As if the problems inside gay print media weren’t bad enough, a cadre Chicago Free Press staffers — including editor-in-chief Matt Simonette — have walked off the job after going unpaid by publisher Rainbow Media.

Gone are the art director, designer, and most of the writers, says Simonette. With a weekly circulation in the twenty-thousands and declining ad revenues, the Free Press had to decide between layoffs and letting staffers go without pay. “The last two to three payrolls, we’ve been having issues from a cash-flow standpoint,” says publisher David Costanzo. “Over the last two payrolls, we had to delay some paychecks.” (Simonette says contributors haven’t been paid since mid-November and staffers are owed their Dec. 15 paychecks.)

Is this the death knell of the Free Press? If you’re a betting man, you might want to wager Yes. While we haven’t taken a look at the paper’s books, as we’ve seen over and over in the past few months, gay media’s decline is snowballing. We just learned Window Media, publisher of the Washington Blade and David, was losing almost $200,000 per month at the end and had just $2,100 left in a checking account.