Thursday, December 11, 2008

This week's LVW col: The R-J's Travesty

This is something that, when I saw it, I decided it was more than a blog item. It was a serious outrage. Then some of my R-J friends started emailing asking if I'd seen this, that many inside the paper were offended by it. So here's this week's piece, vivisecting one of the most embarrassing and journalistically specious things the R-J has done in a good, long while. As for the headline, I may need to take that up with my Weekly editors. I'm the poster boy for WHHSH fatigue. Three WHHSH-inspired headlines since August is annoying. Ahh, well. Such is life. Here's the piece...

What really happens in Vegas...
Getting to the bottom of the investigation into R&R Partners and the LVCVA

If I were an investigative reporter working for one of the local daily newspapers, near the top of my list for digging would be the complex, expensive and probably unprecedented relationship between R&R Partners and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

Therein lies a very incestuous web of personal and professional conflicts and galling amounts of unaccounted-for taxpayer money. Any time there’s more than $80 million being spent on one company to do something as nebulous as promoting a destination, it’s fertile ground for scandal.

So here’s what I would do if I had a big handlebar moustache and wore a 10-gallon hat and viewed myself as Nevada’s last, best hope of staving off tyranny: I’d set aside some time for my best reporters to analyze the books, file Freedom of Information Act requests, work sources and produce something substantive. You know, I’d put some resources, some money, some elbow grease into it. And I’d make sure that whatever the reporters did, it was fair and balanced.

What I wouldn’t do is repackage the propaganda of some agenda-driven “think-tank” and call it my most pressing story on a Sunday when my circulation was at its peak.

The November 30 Review-Journal piece, titled “LVCVA, ad agency defend deal,” by A.D. Hopkins was a travesty of journalism. In fact, as hard as I’ve been on my blog and elsewhere about the R-J’s silly approaches to their Internet content, I never imagined that Editor Thomas Mitchell and Publisher Sherman Frederick would allow such a piece of tripe to touch the ink-stained fingers of their dwindling legions of readers.

Read the rest HERE


Anonymous said...

Great column. Describes my feelings exactly.

The fact is, when you think about all the really big stories broken by or about LV, they're always broken by somebody else, either the LA Times, the NY Times, Wall St. Journal, but hardly ever the RJ. Why is that?

Thank God for bigger, better papers is all I say. Without them, we'd never really know what's going on in our own city!

Keep up the good work, Steve.

mike_ch said...

What's the connection between LVCVA and R&R anyway? I thought they were just some marketing firm who pitched WHHSH and will receive the LVCVA's undying ad dollars because they're a local firm and any competitor isn't. You make it sound like a lot of operations are tied between the two, with angering the LVCVA resulting with you in an R&R office and the bureau asking R&R to block you from things. Who runs what?

Unless you phrased it wrong, this sounds like a hideously awful story of government getting into bed with a private business.

I used to think the tourism department were fairly good guys and that R&R was just a lousy marketing firm that curries local favouritism, but now they're see they're all awful. Maybe they should all fail, but the R-J should be the first to do so.