It's sad to see the Free Press go; they ran my cartoons from Volume 1 Issue 1 in August, 1999, until sometime in 2009, and featured some excellent news coverage and commentary. I can't do better than columnist Jennifer Vanasco, who wrote:
“And because the Chicago Free Press was a very good paper, a lot of people read it. Not just gay people, but straight as well – and not just folks who had a reason to be interested in gay issues, but anyone who had an interest in [Chicago’s] North Side neighborhoods. When I still lived in Chicago – I moved from there in 2006 – people would stop me on the street to talk about that week’s column, or to ask me about something that had been in the paper. It felt personal – more personal that it feels to run a website, or write the occasional web-hosted blog post.”
Gazette Publisher Louis Weisberg used to work for the Free Press (his departure is not entirely unrelated to its eventual demise), which fills a void left by In Step (1984-2003), Wisconsin Light (1987-2002), and Queer Life News (2004-2008). (I'm not ignoring Quest, which started as a "bar rag" but has done its best to report news in the absence of an LGBT "news" paper.) I was happy to find the Gazette available in an art store in my hometown; the previous newspapers had only been available in the city's sole LGBT bar and a porn shop that went out of business last year, or by driving to Milwaukee.
The internet is a wonderful thing, but I like having a newspaper with my coffee. If I spill on it, I'm not out several hundred bucks.