D.C. GAY PAPER TO TRY LOCAL WEEKLY IN N.Y.

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The country's oldest gay paper, the weekly Washington Blade, will expand beyond the nation's capital and into New York in a joint venture with Queens-based News Communications.

In what will be News Communications' first foray into the gay market, the two partners will invest $500,000 to start up New York Blade News.

Hitting New York City newsstands Oct. 24, the new weekly will have its own editorial and sales staffs, and an initial pressrun of 50,000. That will dwarf its nearest Big Apple competitor, LGNY, at 21,000 every other week.

News Communications owns a chain of New York neighborhood papers as well as The Hill, a Washington title that competes with politically focused Roll Call.

The debut marks the first time a gay paper has moved into another city with a separate product and in a difficult market at that. New York has seen a number of gay newspapers fail, including New York Native, OutWeek and QW.

"What we're doing hasn't been tried before-hard news with a full-time staff on decent salaries and benefits," said Don Michaels, Washington Blade publisher and president-CEO of the New York paper.

Separately, a national gay newspaper chain is planned by Washington-based Window Media, which recently purchased Atlanta's Southern Voice.

Ten papers are sought in the next five years by the group, said Window Media

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