The First Thing You Won’t Be Investigating . . .


I see where the (still) daily Las Vegas Review-Journal sold late last week for more than $140 million — seven times its earnings for the most recent 12 months and thus somewhat above the morning paper’s market value, as figured by some who focus on its declining display advertising pages (hardly a unique predicament, in this Era of the Internet.)

In fact, the Chicago Tribune reports the new buyer paid 37 percent more than what the paper sold for last March. (Remarks that this property seems to be changing hands more frequently than the newest pretty lady at the Moonlite Bunny Ranch will not be tolerated.)

And that new buyer . . . prefers to remain nameless.

How is that going to work, exactly? Would he (she? they?) have to wear a brown paper bag over his head when visiting the premises? Would he (she? they?) use one of those speech-garbling machines when calling in his instructions to the paper’s few remaining editors?

It’s a cinch the paper wasn’t bought by someone who just aims to sit back and watch the profits roll in.


Meantime, rumors that the buyer shares the same first name as the character actor who later became executive producer of the old “Dick Van Dyke Show” and “Gomer Pyle, USMC” are either being denied or getting a brisk “No comment.”

Just by coincidence, it was about a week earlier that the current owners of the paper — or are they now the most recent former owners? It all gets a tad confusing — announced that Nevada’s largest daily, which has laid off most of its experienced section editors and about half the newsroom staff in recent years, was going to launch itself into the Big-Time Investigative Journalism business by bringing aboard a new six-person Investigative Team.

Well, if you perused the fine print, it actually turned out two of those six persons were to be some kind of statistical analyst and a “writing coach” to be “shared with the other papers in the chain” . . . a chain of which the R-J will presumably no longer be a part.

So perhaps those Big Plans are on hold. But if they’re not, I’d sure like to be able to listen in on an interview for one of those jobs:

“So, you’re interested in joining our new Investigative Team here at the R-J.”

“Maybe. First I’d need to know who owns the paper.”

“I don’t know; if I knew I couldn’t tell you; and that’s the first thing you have to promise not to investigate.”

“Interesting. I thought the first thing I might look into would be the stranglehold the casino industry has on your state Legislature here in Carson City, and particularly on your state Supreme Court, which doesn’t even give petitioners time to blink before throwing out on some wacky pretext any proposed ballot initiative which fails to exempt the casinos from every tax hike — a pattern of behavior which is about to draw the attention of the federal courts.”

“Yes, good idea. We’ll definitely have to put that one a little ways down our list, after checking with the ad department to make sure it wouldn’t raise any complaints among our larger remaining advertisers, of course. But actually, the new owner — and again I have no idea who that might be — thinks a good first project would be ‘Why Baby Boys Wear Pink, And Why Baby Girls Wear Blue,’ followed up by ‘What do you call those little round hard things at the end of a pair of shoelaces?’ Wait, where are you going? Come back here, we haven’t even gone over your work experience . . .”

2 Comments to “The First Thing You Won’t Be Investigating . . .”

  1. MamaLiberty Says:

    It will be interesting to see where any sort of “journalism” goes. I spend a little while each morning looking at some of the better web sources, but I don’t believe much of what I read. For the most part, I see “headlines” like this (Queen Elizabeth sends man heartwarming note) posted day after day and a wonder just why anybody would give a damn. My most common response to the headlines is: so what? Who the hell cares how some movie star dresses or combs her hair? All political posturing and campaigning fall into the same category, far as I’m concerned.

    And don’t get me started on the insane “studies” and “surveys” that prove nothing except that a lot of “science” – as well as journalism – has gone completely bonkers. We used to say that statistics didn’t lie… but that was before those who write the questions got so… shall we say, creative.

  2. Thomas L. Knapp Says:


    Interesting. I just assumed that YOU were the new owner, flush with profits from The Testament of James and a no-doubt 10-figure advance on The Miskatonic Manuscript and looking to spend some of that filthy lucre on settling old scores in the R-J newsroom 😀