The recent upheaval at the LGBT newsweekly Chicago Free Press has inspired Gay Chicago magazine to introduce a new feature, “Gay Chicago Newswatch,” by former Free Press news editor Gary Barlow. The “Newswatch” column debuts in the December 31 issue, hitting the streets and the Web today. And then next month, says GC owner Craig Gernhardt, “I’m bringing Amy Wooten aboard to help cover political races.” Wooten, former senior writer at Free Press, was one of several editorial staffers to walk out at the Free Press earlier this month.

Founded in 1976 by Gernhardt’s father, the late Ralph Paul Gernhardt, Gay Chicago is known principally as a nightlife and entertainment guide, and though it has regularly carried community news, wire-service stories, and obituaries, it has steered clear of politics. But with important elections looming next year, Gernhardt says he wants to “offer hard-core reporting. My goal is to give the gay and lesbian community proper news coverage from quality writers on a timely basis.”