Sunday, November 9, 2008

In Defense Of The R-J

I've been receiving a number of texts and emails from VegasHappensHere.Com readers and friends simply floored that the Review-Journal featured me so prominently in Corey Levitan's piece today about the Vegas blogosphere.

I am not blowing smoke when I say that I am completely unsurprised. No, really.

Yes, I have provided in this space some intense criticism of the R-J and its publisher, Sherm Frederick. Yes, I still think most of Sherm's columns are ridiculous and that his spending priorities do a disservice to his product. But I also preach that there's excellent work done there and that the sins of publishers and editors should never be blamed on the many terrific reporters working in this town.

And as brutal as I have been about Sherm -- and he has returned the love in kind on his blog -- I would never imagine that he would tell one of his reporters not to include a newsworthy element of a story simply because he's got a personal or ideological bone to pick. Contrary to the conspiracy theories out there about how news operations are run, it's always been my experience that publishers and even top editors meddle in the content very, very sparingly. I worked for three years in the 1990s at the R-J, a right-leaning paper on its editorial pages, and I write regularly for The New York Times, the epitome of what some view as the "liberal media elite." On no side have I ever been instructed as to how to slant or frame a story beyond the normal reporter-editor discussions fleshing out what we see as the news. In those conversations, though, throughout my career in daily journalism, editors defer to the judgment of reporters almost all of the time. (Magazine journalism is a bit of a different matter.)

So I'm quite thrilled to have received the coverage today from Corey's story. And I loved, loved, loved that he managed to include the libel lawsuit vexing that moron blogger Michael Politz. But I'm not surprised that Sherm behaved professionally. In fact, I suspect he probably didn't know the story was being done. It's not his job to micromanage that way.

Oh, and while I'm tooting the worn-out horn, UNLV journalism student Laura Davis wrote a extremely flattering profile of me appearing in the current issue of Q Vegas (free registration req.). So it's been quite a nice Sunday.


Anonymous said...

Congrats on being included Steve, no doubt you deserve it as your blog is an important part of the Vegas-centric blogosphere.

What I think is interesting is how narrow the piece was... Quite a few blogs that are very active and popular were not mentioned at all. David McKee's 'Stiffs...' @ LVA is one example - a great Vegas blog with constant, almost hourly updates.

I don't want this to sound like sour grapes for not being included but I know from my own access logs that my Vegas blog is very popular (we had 100,000 unique visitors to the blog in October) and I assume others like McKee's and the one at are as well. Still, not just no mention but no contact from the reporter at all.

I just wonder how much research they did into what's out there.

Either way, it's interesting to see a story and I'm glad to see a friend featured.


Mr. Green W. Envey said...

Maybe, if anyone read you then you too could have a lawsuite against. better start saving your pennies for a defense. Someone's jealous!!!