Tuesday, July 1, 2014 | 5:35 p.m.
The Las Vegas Sun’s publisher and editor took sole ownership of the publication today, rescuing it from what had been an uncertain future.
Brian Greenspun, who succeeded his parents, Sun founders Hank and Barbara Greenspun, as the newspaper's editor and publisher, assumed control of the Sun and its parent organization, the Greenspun Media Group, under an agreement dividing his family’s assets between him and his three siblings. Previously, GMG had been co-owned by the four siblings, as had other business holdings including the travel/tourism website, vegas.com, Niche Media and the real estate development company, American Nevada, the developer of Green Valley.
The agreement ensures that Las Vegas will retain its distinction as one of the dwindling number of American communities served by two independent newspapers with separate points of view. In his first action as GMG’s outright owner, Brian Greenspun suspended discussions to dissolve a joint operating agreement in which the Sun is printed and distributed by the Las Vegas Review-Journal and receives a portion of the R-J’s advertising revenue.
In a related development, Greenspun will withdraw a lawsuit he filed in 2013 to prevent his siblings and Stephens Media, the owner of the R-J, from entering an agreement to do away with the JOA.
“This is a happy day for me,” Brian Greenspun said. “This community must have, and richly deserves, multiple newspaper organizations covering it. We’re here to stay and here to thrive.”
Under the agreement, Brian Greenspun also took control of other GMG publications: the Sun’s news website, www.lasvegassun.com; Las Vegas Magazine; GMG’s weekly local news publication, The Sunday; the arts and entertainment magazine Las Vegas Weekly; the websites for Las Vegas Weekly and The Sunday; the business news website www.vegasinc.com; the guidebook Vegas2Go and Sun Media productions.
As with the Sun, the other GMG publications will continue to be produced.
The agreement also places full ownership of Niche Media, a national network of high-quality luxury magazines, in the hands of Janie Greenspun Gale and her husband Jeff Gale.
“I think Janie and Jeff are going to have a great success with Niche Media and I look forward to seeing what they do with it going forward,” Brian Greenspun said.
With its various titles, the organization will continue to have the broadest audience reach of any media company in the Las Vegas market. Based on estimates from third party measurement houses, GMG's unduplicated local audience is about 740,000 per month and it reaches about 2.7 million tourists each month.
“GMG’s audience, creativity and commitment to this community are unmatched by any other media company in the region,” said Robert Cauthorn, GMG’s chief operating officer. “We offer a series of best-of-breed publications whose readers span all ages and all segments, from locals to tourists. This means Las Vegas can count on GMG to serve this community for many years to come.”
GMG has received several top national awards for journalistic excellence, highlighted by the Sun winning the Pulitzer Prize in 2009 for a series examining construction workers’ deaths on the Las Vegas Strip, and being a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2011 for its investigation into poor hospital care.
In the past year, lasvegassun.com won two first-place honors for online journalism in the industry trade journal Editor & Publisher’s EPPY Awards, sharing accolades with the Boston Globe’s collection of content stemming from the Boston Marathon bombing and winning out over such organizations CNN, espn.com and the Denver Post.
In addition, the Sun recently was honored with the 2014 Dart Award, presented by Columbia University for excellence in coverage of trauma, placing ahead of stories by The New York Times, the Boston Globe, CNN, NPR and other top-flight media organizations. Both the Dart and EPPY awards were for the Sun's seven-part series, “Grace Through Grief,” that chronicled a deadly home invasion and the victims’ recovery.
“Our ability to compete with the nation’s finest news organizations, many of which are much larger than ours, starts with the leadership of Brian Greenspun,” said Ric Anderson, managing editor of the GMG newsroom. “With his vision, passion and incredible commitment to this community, he sets the tone for us to produce at the highest level to serve Las Vegas. Our goal is to shine as the hometown, locally owned newspaper, serving the community."
The announcement of the agreement came on the 64th anniversary of the day the Sun was published for the first time — July 1, 1950. The lead stories in that edition included a development in the Korean War, a new police chief being named in Las Vegas and the city enduring its hottest temperature of the year.
“Sixty-four years ago today, on the birth of the Las Vegas Sun, my father pledged in his 'Where I Stand' column that he and his entire staff would 'try to make this newspaper representative of the people of Southern Nevada; we will try to make it your newspaper,'” Brian Greenspun explained.
“My ownership of GMG and the Las Vegas Sun means that, with the community’s help, we get to keep trying.”