Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sun's new political ace staying in Reno

As a brave anonymous commenter to my Tuesday post on the Sun's staffing woes chided, the Las Vegas Sun recently told its staff it was hiring soon-to-be-former Reno Gazette-Journal political ace Anjeanette Damon. She starts after the June 8 primary.

There's a reason I left this out of that post. Yes, I had heard this -- though I hadn't seen the postings about it, true -- but nobody could tell me where Damon would be working.

I was unable -- until now -- to get an answer to the question. She's staying in Reno. She just called me back to tell me so. And no, the Sun's statehouse scribe David McGrath Schwartz is not coming back to Las Vegas.

That means that the Sun will have two political writers in Carson City and, as of now, none in Vegas after Patrick Coolican leaves for the L.A. Weekly on June 8.

I've no criticism of Damon's remaining in the north, territory she knows well. But it still means that, unless the Sun poaches someone from the R-J, they'll be hiring from outside not just the paper but the state. I'm sure whoever they get will do great -- the clearly have a knack for identifying talent -- but the months between June 8 and the November election aren't really a time for on-the-job training. They will be some of the most important political months in the state's history.

P.S. As I responded to that kindhearted anonymous commenter, Jon Ralston doesn't fit into this equation because Ralston's primary duties are as host of his daily TV show and author of his daily e-mail blast. He writes a column a couple times a week for the Sun and I'm sure he offers a tip or two to Sun beat writers, but he is not actively involved in the day-to-day coverage of politics and does not write lengthy think pieces on trends, people or issues.

That's what we lose with the disappearance of Mascaro, Coolican and Mishak. We get some of that back from Damon, but not as much as we need. And they still have no D.C. bureau now, but ex-R-J political writer Molly Ball did just update her Facebook status to say she has arrived in Alexandria, Va. Just saying.


Tom said...

No need to torture yourself wondering what is happening at the Sun. You write for the Weekly; why not use the GMG phone list and call the editor of the Sun on his direct line? Seems a logical first step, doncha think?


atdnext said...

Well, Anjeanette Damon is one of the top political reporters in the state. It's no small feat for The Sun to get her, and I'm sure she'll provide top-notch coverage of all the statewide races and Northern Nevada drama.

Still, I can also understand your frustration, as this leaves no one experienced in Vegas to cover Southern Nevada issues. And last I checked, Las Vegas IS Southern Nevada.

I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens to the Vegas Sun bureau.