The newspaper billed as “the voice of Chicago’s gay, lesbian, bi, trans and queer community since 1985” is ceasing print publication after 35 years.
Windy City Times will move to a digital-only format in October, according to an announcement today by majority owner Tracy Baim. The website at windycitytimes.com also will preserve its archive of stories and photos.
Coinciding with the paper’s 35th anniversary, the final print version of Chicago’s only LGBTQ newspaper will be published September 30. The special collector’s edition will include a retrospective of the last 35 years.
Baim cited the impact of COVID-19 on the paper’s core entertainment advertisers for the move.
“I am very sad to see the print edition go away,” said Baim, who was among the paper’s four founders and its first managing editor. “Our staff, freelancers and drivers have given so much to Windy City Times over the years. I thank the team for really working hard to sustain WCT. Hundreds of people worked at and supported this company through so many difficult times.
“Windy City Times is not closing, but losing the print paper is painful. We know many people prefer the print model, but the economics are just not sustainable.”
Baim said three of the paper’s five employees will be furloughed while the company seeks additional funding to sustain original reporting and other updates to the website. Since 2018 Baim also has served as publisher of the Chicago Reader, which is in the process of shifting to a nonprofit business model.
Windy City Times claims an online audience of 125,000 unique monthly visitors plus about 40,000 followers on social media.
Along with the final print edition September 30, the paper plans to mark its 35th anniversary by publishing a commemorative book of covers.
In a bittersweet coda to the cutback, Windy City Times will be inducted in the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame in a virtual ceremony to be streamed October 13.
As an online-only site for LGBTQ news, Windy City Times will join GoPride.com (formerly ChicagoPride.com), which was founded in 2002.
Tuesday’s comment of the day: Scott Thayer: I am approaching 57, and remember hearing [Bob] Sirott and [John Records] Landecker as DJ’s in the 70’s. All WGN needs now is Brant Miller. I must be at the young end of the demographic they are trying to reach. Steve Bertrand is a good choice. Maybe it’s me, but I just don’t see the appeal of John Williams.