Wednesday, January 30, 2008

HX Media Threatens Legal Action Against Former Associate Publisher

The drama surrounding the Boston-based IN Newsweekly and HX Media continues to rage with CEO Matthew Bank threatening legal action against former associate publisher Bill Berggren. Bank told Bay Windows in an article published in last week's issue he has already contacted Massachusetts lawyers after Berggren and two former accounting executives, Matt White and Beau de Mello, allegedly deleted contact lists from IN Newsweekly's computers before his Jan. 2 termination.

"Those contacts definitely were the property of IN Newsweekly and HX Boston (the local subsidiary of HX Media," Bank told the newspaper. "We are definitely contemplating all possible remedies for what we consider to be the theft and destruction of that information."

IN Newsweekly further provided Bay Windows a series of e-mails from mid-December suggesting Berggren began telling his advertisers about a new publication, N'Touch New England, he plans to launch. The troubled weekly also pointed out to Bay Windows that White reserved a domain name for the new newspaper on Dec. 6. Berggren denied Bank's allegations in an e-mail to Boy in Bushwick earlier this morning. He further pointed out he had contact information for various advertisers in his personal phone book.

This revelation is the latest in a series of controversies to rock IN Newsweekly and vis-a-vis Boston's LGBT media. Rhode Island correspondent Joe Siegel and columnist Chuck Colbert ceased contributing to IN Newsweekly late last year while former editor-at-large Fred Kuhr resigned at roughly the same time. Former associate publisher Tony Giampetruzzi is among the nearly half a dozen new writers currently providing content to the newspaper. And Bank recently announced he plans to change IN Newsweekly's name to the New England Blade in the near future.

The situation will clearly remain fluid but the fact remains: IN Newsweekly and HX Media will almost certainly continue to lose market share and credibility as these revelations and even potential lawsuits continue to become public. LGBT publications admittedly serve a specific audience each week. Some readers seek out reporting on local LGBT news and politics while others may want to know which go-go boy or drag queen will perform at the local gay bar on Friday night and yet even more want a combination of both. IN Newsweekly, in theory, serves that purpose for those who read it each week. But these latest revelations arguably leave this reality in doubt.

1 comment:

Flyin Squirrel said...

Too bad Bill lost his case and HX won. Just goes to show what a shifty guy he was....