Windy City Times, Chicago's only LGBTQ newspaper, is moving to a digital-only format starting in October. The Sept. 30, 2020 edition, which marks the paper's 35th anniversary, will be its last regular free-standing print issue. The website windycitytimes.com will continue to be updated.
Windy City Times was founded in September 1985 by Jeff McCourt, Bob Bearden, Drew Badanish and Tracy Baim. Baim was the managing editor. In 1987 she left to found Outlines newspaper. Over the years, Outlines also launched Nightlines, BLACKlines, En La Vida and other LGBTQ media. In 2000, Baim purchased Windy City Times back from McCourt and she became publisher.
Baim, who is majority owner of WCT, joined the Chicago Reader as publisher in 2018. Her longtime staff took over WCT, including Publisher Terri Klinsky, Executive Editor Andrew Davis, Managing Editor Matt Simonette, Art Director Kirk Williamson, Director of New Media Jean Albright and Ripley Caine, bookkeeper.
"I am very sad to see the print edition go away," said Baim. "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."
Windy City Times, which is among only about two dozen weekly or biweekly LGBTQ newspapers left in the U.S., has tried to hold on to print during the decline in advertising and support of newspapers in recent years, but COVID-19 and its impact on the paper's core entertainment advertisers meant continuing a print paper was not tenable. The Windy City Times' digital footprint includes an average of 125,000 unique monthly visitors to its website, plus nearly 40,000 followers on social media.
As part of its 35th anniversary, the Sept. 30 final print edition will be a special collector's edition with a look-back at 35 years, copies of which can be purchased at www.windycitymediagroup.com/donate2.php .
Windy City Times will also be putting out a book of covers of WCT and its related LGBTQ newspapers. Ordering information to come.
Windy City Times will be inducted into the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame in October.
Several staff will be furloughed as the company seeks additional resources in its pivot to digital. The website, www.windycitytimes.com, will continue. It hosts hundreds of thousands of articles and photos going back to the mid-1990s. Donations are being accepted at http://www.windycitymediagroup.com/donate.php.
To advertise in the final print edition, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 773-871-7610 ext. 101.