Sarah Warn Leaves Lesbian Website AfterEllen, Karman Kregloe Takes Over as Editor-in-Chief

Sarah Warn, editor-in-chief and founder of AfterEllen.com, announced today that she will be stepping down from her post at the end of the month, to be replaced by Karman Kregloe. In “Passing the Torch,” Warn writes:

In April 2002, I had the crazy idea to start a lesbian entertainment website. To my surprise, it turned into a full-time job, and then snowballed into the wonderful, messy, often inspiring, sometimes exasperating community of readers, writers, bloggers, and vloggers that it is today.

But after seven and half years and 1,000+ articles and blog posts, I’m just plain burned out. It’s time for me to turn in my Professional Lesbian credentials, and let someone else run the site — for your benefit, and for mine.

So I’m happy to announce that as of Nov. 1, Karman Kregloe will be the new Editor in Chief of AfterEllen.com. Karman has been working with me for years, since before the sites were acquired by Logo, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to hand the reigns over to her.

warnWashington native Warn began AfterEllen.com as a hobby in 2002 in response to what she saw as a complete void of content in the universe regarding queer women in entertainment — online or off.

AE’s success is no surprise when you glance at Warn’s resumè and total expertise. She graduated from lesbian-hotbed Wellesley College in 1996 with a degree in Women’s Studies and then pursued higher education at Harvard University (yeah THAT HARVARD), graduating in 1998 with a master’s in Theological Studies.

Warn deftly oversaw the expansion of her pioneering website over the last seven years, bringing eight years of experience in online marketing and business development, including several years managing Expedia‘s search engine marketing department, to the position. Combined with Warn’s academic savvy and keen finger on the pulse of lesbian pop culture, AfterEllen quickly became a cult classic amongst other web-savvy lesbians (many Team Autostraddlers included) (Riese & Carlytron are web-nerds forevs) and, when lesbians got their very own TV show in 2004, The L Word, AfterEllen’s popularity virtually exploded.

AfterEllen was in a key position to take over the lesbian internet … and they did. The L Word‘s growing popularity coincided with the advent of wireless, high-speed internet (especially important for people who have to hide their web-browsing from others), the YouTube boom (providing easy access to streaming video content) and the height of blogging’s popularity.

AfterEllen

Warn and her partner/girlfriend, Lori Grant, then founded Erosion Media LLC, which added gay male focused site AfterElton to its roster in 2005 and was consequently purchased by Logo/MTV in 2006. Warn became an Executive Producer at Logo and was named one of “10 Amazing Gay Women in Showbiz” by Power Up that same year.

In her letter to readers regarding the acquisition of AfterEllen by Logo in 2006, Warn said, “This is a great fit for us, because the folks at Logo are just as committed to LGBT entertainment as we are, and their expertise in television and authentic content creation and programming is an excellent complement to our online experience.” The additional resources provided by Viacom, MTV’s parent company, enabled the site to grow even more; doubling content and gaining increased access to celebrities.

Sarah Warn did what few lesbians have done — prove to the mainstream that there’s a hungry lesbian market and make money doing it.

It also meant a lot more video, including shows that eventually made their way onto LOGO, such as Brunch with Bridget. Often clocking in at nearly 30 minutes each, vlogs became a major element of AfterEllen as it attracted new, diverse audiences hungry for multimedia and pretty lesbian faces (including Celesbian Supastar Jill Bennett, who later took her show to SheWired). A redesign earlier this year marked a major improvement to AfterEllen’s navigation as it continued to add new features, new writers and new topics.

This year Warn relocated from New York’s Logo offices back to Seattle, where she has been telecommuting. Warn will continue to write her monthly Visibility Matterscolumn for AfterEllen, beginning this month with a keen retrospective on the last seven years of lesbian pop culture evolution.

We’re all eager to see how this next stage of development will impact AfterEllen. One thing is for sure; Sarah Warn’s career ain’t over yet. She is a trailblazer and an established source of lesbionic expertise.

Whether you love it, hate it, or love to hate it, no one can deny the incredible influence of AfterEllen on lesbians and bisexual women in entertainment and the community in general. Furthermore, Sarah Warn did what few lesbians have done — prove to the mainstream that there’s a hungry lesbian market and make money doing it.

This will not impede Autostraddle’s plans to produce “She Made Me Watch This Incredibly Long AfterEllen Vlog” next year. We already have our set all set up with three chairs and a table. Like Our Town!

auto has written 478 articles for us.

13 Comments

  1. AfterEllen was the first website I found when I started questioning my sexuality (followed not too long after by Autostraddle and Autowin)and is now a site I visit daily. Thank you, Sarah Warn, for providing an entry point for me into the world of lesbian culture.

  2. Whoa, this is huge. AfterEllen was a huge part of my early coming-out era, which we can clock in between The L Word Season 2 and 4. Now I don’t visit it as much (I find it kind of generic) but I like knowing it’s there.

    I hope Sarah Warn finds something fulfilling and awesome to do next.

    • hrm i think it is a bit more important than that. ae is an example of a successful acquisition of an lgbt media property by a major media company (and one that was started by women for women and then later spun off a site catering to men – rather than the other way around). meanwhile, aol killed queersighted (and i’m sure i can think of more if i had more time). ae proved that lgbt media – and specifically, lesbian media – was worth investing in. so however sarah got viacom to throw their dollars in ae’s direction and sustain the site through this recession (and the ever-fickle tastes of a rowdy lesbian readership), that’s impressive and huge. (and i’m not just saying nice things because they give me beer money!)

      (ugh, they cut off wireless at work. i’m posting in public. hi everyone, i’m posting on a gay site!)

      • Oh yeah absolutely, I think you misinterpreted my comment — the story that sarah is leaving AE is something that all internet people know about and care about whereas our non web savvy friends might not care either way who’s editing the site, if they even read it to begin with.

        But the story of her impact and accomplishments are clearly incredibly important to any woman in business — to everyone!– I hope that my respect for her achievements and importance is clear in the article, b/c grace I agree fully with everything you say in ur comment.

        • no biggie, not hatin’ here. just adding my two cents bc i don’t have enough time to write an entire post. also, bear with me. i seem to be unable to read things in context these days. oh and hi vikki!

  3. It’s kinda sad to see Sarah leaving AE, even if I don’t really go to the site as much since the advent of Autostraddle. However, I’ve gotta say that AE was really big for me in the past 4 years that I’ve been figuring out my sexuality. The website’s analysis of lesbian pop culture made me feel totally more comfortable with myself and also taught me to let go of self-hating tendencies that involved me clinging to a lot of heteronormative ideas that I’d been exposed to all my life. It sort of formed me into a better person who wasn’t trying to fit into a specific model for how I thought lesbians should act.

    So… yeah. AE is definitely up there with Feministing and Autowin/Autostraddle as the most influential websites in my life.

    • yeah for defo those three. once discovered autostraddle didn’t go to AfterEllen quite so much, and lately not much at all, but it was incredibly important for me too. Pretty pioneering of her, feel like if it wasn’t in the internet world i would give her a big bunch of flowers to say thanks or something.

  4. Great article Riese. Sarah’s career is impressive, as is the history and growth of AfterEllen. She is definitely a pioneer and a ridiculously smart and savvy lady.

    Also wanted to say, one of the reasons I wanted to be a part of Autostraddle is that I love how you have always supported, represented, and linked to other lesbian sites. Sometimes I feel like this is lacking in lesbian media and I feel like our progress is dependent on our willingness to push each other forward. I’m excited to see what Sarah does next!

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