Window Media publisher and Avalon Equity Fund founder David Unger is said to have been removed by the federal Small Business Administration, multiple sources tell Queerty. Unger, who we heard was trying to sell his gay newspapers and magazines, had been drawing a salary as the head of Avalon, which took on $38 million in federal loans with a plan to invest in gay media. The news of Unger’s possible ouster comes on the heels of SBA placing Avalon into receivership (after Avalon’s cash on hand dropped precipitously low) and the U.S. Department of Labor began poking around the house of Unger. We’re already starting to hear from underlings happy to see him go. DEVELOPING …
UPDATE: David tells us the above information is wrong, and that SBA did not remove him. We asked him to provide an on-the-record response, but he replied, “NO.” And then in a subsequent email he declared, “THIS CANNOT BE PUBLISHED ON YOUR SITE WITHOUT MY LEGAL APPROVAL.” Which is, frankly, ridiculous, but we’re assuming it’s an insight into his managerial style.
Maybe the Washington Blade team can now bring back some of our favorite writers that were axed because of Unger.
Good. You cannot live life yelling, degrading people and living life as though you are the only one who exists. The stories about this man would make your skin crawl. Maybe now gay media will be safe. What will happen to the papers is our community’s question.
No surprise to the LGBT community, Unger has done nothing but undermine the gay media since he invested in the Window Media company. He has treated his vendors, business partners and editors like they were second class citizens and single handedly destroyed gay media credibility. We all get what we deserve in life and Unger is finally having to pay the piper for the years and years of evil he has spread across the community. We need to get back to the days of Chris Crain. One can only hope that that our community newspapers are able to be rescued by someone who actually cares about the people who have devoted their lives to make a difference in their cities, and not someone who only cares about lining his own pocket with sweat equity of the unappreciated people that work for them.
What Window Media tried to do, by obtaining financing and creating a national network of regional publications woven together with a content management system that allowed for localization (SOVO, the Blade, etc.) and a national brand (Gay News Watch) was in my humble opinion, remarkable.
The challenge for them is the challenge facing all media companies. If the SBA was underwriting the New York Times, (which is losing tens of millions a month) they would be in receivership as well.
The fact of the matter is that it is nearly impossible to turn a profit right now publishing new papers and supporting the expense of still unprofitable web operations. Web is both the future and for many bottom lines, the future killer. PlanetOut spend perhaps as much as $20 million over three years trying to maintain and rebuild its platform.
No one, and I mean no one, is making money right now in any major national gay news operation. It is as though gay media is the Compact Disc, and the whole web is i-tunes. People are grabbing their news where they can get it, and there is very little hub left to spoke off of.
These are very lean times, and blaming Mr. Unger or anyone else for that fact misses the point. The Seattle Post Intelligencer, The boston Globe, The Denver Post… we gays are sharing a sinking media boat with a lot of people, and we would be foolish to finger point at a few individuals as the cause of the problem.
@homofied: Agreed on all points, but he still had a lousy management style. That didn’t help an already bad situation.
In my experience, bad situations bring out the worst in everyone involved, and while I love, make that ADORE, writers and journalists, they tend to have zero business and organizational savvy. The whole separation of editorial and business in the media sphere is under attack, and the managers in the middle are struggling to figure out ways to keep the lights on while allowing the creative teams to do what they do – create. Its a recipe for conflict. I don’t know Mr. Unger, but I know a lot of people in media, and not one of them is liking management much these days. There are a lot of hungry people out there fighting over the scraps. Meanwhile, you have some extraordinary journalism happening as we speak. Look at ANdrew Sullivan’s deep dive on Iran. In my opinion its Pulitzer-worthy. But if I were his business manager, I would be hiding in the bathroom with my hands covering my face, thinking desperately how to monetize what he is doing so he can keep doing it. And he’s just one guy with a blog.
@homofied: Ditto to Homified and Hardman.
Ditto that he not only has a lousy management style, he has “no” management style other than he manages what he can put in his pocket without regard for his employees or shareholders.
“THIS CANNOT BE PUBLISHED ON YOUR SITE WITHOUT MY LEGAL APPROVAL.”
Yeah, clearly the brains to be involved in the newspaper business.
Buh-bye now. And thanks for tanking a bunch of community newspapers during your stint in the sandbox with your toys/our papers.
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