Las Vegas Review-Journal
June 19, 2006 front page of the
Las Vegas Review-Journal
|Owner(s)||News + Media Capital Group LLC|
|Editor||J. Keith Moyer|
|Founded||September 18, 1909
(as the Clark County Review)
|Headquarters||1111 West Bonanza Road
Las Vegas, Nevada 89106
The Las Vegas Review-Journal is a major daily newspaper published in Las Vegas, Nevada, since 1909. It is the largest circulating daily newspaper in Nevada and one of two daily newspapers in the Las Vegas area. The Greenspun Corporation-owned Las Vegas Sun is distributed with it.
The Review-Journal has a joint operating agreement with the Las Vegas Sun, which runs through 2040. In 2005, the Sun ceased afternoon publication and began distribution as a section of the Review-Journal. On March 18, 2015, the sale of the newspaper's parent company, Stephens Media LLC, to New Media Investment Group was completed. In December 2015, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson purchased the newspaper for $140 million via News + Media Capital Group LLC, although a subsidiary of New Media Investment Group, GateHouse Media, was retained to manage the newspaper. $140 million was considered a steep price amounting to a 69% gain for New Media Investment Group after owning the journal for nine months.
The Clark County Review was first printed in 1909 and became the Las Vegas Review in 1926 when owner Frank Garside, who owned several other Nevada papers, brought in Al Cahlan as a partner. In March 1929, the Clark County Journal began publication, and in July of that year, the Review bought the Journal and shortly thereafter began co-publication as the Las Vegas Evening Review-Journal. In the early 1940s, Cahlan and Garside's company, Southwestern Publishing, bought the Las Vegas Age, from Charles P. "Pop" Squires, which began publication in 1905 and was the oldest surviving paper in Las Vegas. The word "evening" was dropped from the name in 1949 when Garside left the company and Cahlan struck an agreement with Donald W. Reynolds and his Donrey Media Group.
In 1953, the RJ signed on KORK, one of Las Vegas' earliest radio stations. Two years later, it signed on Las Vegas' third television station, KLRJ-TV, in 1955, later changing the calls to KORK-TV. The station was sold in 1979, changing its call letters again first to KVBC, and then, in 2010, to the current KSNV-DT.
In December 1960, Reynolds exercised a buyout option with Cahlan, and bought the paper.
Reynolds died in 1993, and longtime friend Jack Stephens bought his company, renamed it Stephens Media and moved the company's headquarters to Las Vegas. The Review-Journal entered into its first Joint Operating Agreement, or JOA, with the Sun in 1990, which was amended in 2005. In early 2015, the Stephens Media newspapers were sold to New Media Investment Group.
The newspaper has won the "General Excellence" award from the Nevada Press Association several times and has also won the "Freedom of the Press" award for its First Amendment battles from the statewide organization.
Sheldon Adelson ownership
When the paper was sold in 2015, it was initially unclear who the buyer was. The purchaser was a limited liability company, News + Media Capital Group LLC, and the only name listed on the documents was Michael Schroeder, a publisher of four small regional newspapers in Connecticut. At a December 10 staff meeting informing the Review-Journal staff that the paper had been sold, Schroeder was introduced as the manager. He refused to say who the owners of News + Media were, saying that employees should "focus on [their] jobs...and don't worry about who [the owners] are." Jason Taylor, the Review-Journal's publisher, said only that the ownership included "multiple owner/investors, that some are from Las Vegas, and that in face-to-face meetings he has been assured that the group will not meddle in the newspaper’s editorial content.” There were widespread rumors that the primary buyer was Sheldon Adelson, and a week later three Review-Journal reporters confirmed that the purchase had been orchestrated by Adelson's son-in-law Patrick Dumont on Adelson's behalf. A month before the new owner was revealed, three reporters at the newspaper received an assignment from corporate management: Spend two weeks monitoring the activity of three Clark County judges. One of the judges was District Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez, who was hearing a long-running wrongful termination lawsuit filed against Adelson and his company.
In January a set of editorial principles were drawn up and publicized to ensure the newspaper's independence and to deal with possible conflicts of interest involving Adelson's ownership. In February Craig Moon, a veteran of the Gannett organization, was announced as the new publisher and promptly withdrew those principles from publication. He also began to personally review, edit, and sometimes kill stories about an Adelson-promoted proposal for a new football stadium. In the months since, reporters say that stories about Adelson, and particularly about an ongoing lawsuit involving his business dealings in Macau, have been heavily edited by top management.
The new ownership triggered numerous departures. On December 23 the paper's editor Mike Hengel stepped down in a "voluntary buyout". Many reporters and editors left the newspaper citing "curtailed editorial freedom, murky business dealings and unethical managers." Longtime columnist John L. Smith resigned after he was told he could no longer write anything about Adelson, a frequent focus of his reporting up till then. Within six months, all three of the reporters who broke the story of Adelson's ownership had left the paper.
Copyright infringement litigation
In 2010, the Review-Journal's then-owner Stephens Media launched a copyright enforcement company called Righthaven LLC, which began a series of legal suits claiming copyright infringements. The company's practice was to search the internet for uses of Review-Journal material, purchase the copyright for that material from the newspaper, and then file suit for copyright infringement. According to the Wall Street Journal, "Defendants typically get no warning, no take-down request, just a suit." Righthaven CEO Steve Gibson's vision was to "monetize news content on the backend, by scouring the internet for infringing copies of his client's articles, then suing and relying on the harsh penalties in the Copyright Act — up to $150,000 for a single infringement — to compel quick settlements." This practice has been criticized by some tech blogs and magazines, which call it "copyright trolling", a practice of scouring the internet for violations to make a profit.
Between March and August 2010, Righthaven LLC filed copyright infringement suits against 107 blogs,. political forums, major political parties, and several of the newspaper's own sources including NORML, DailyPaul.com, Infowars, Free Republic and others.
On August 25, 2010, the Electronic Frontier Foundation announced that it would make efforts to assist Righthaven LLC defendants to the best of its ability. In September, the EFF, with other pro bono attorneys including Las Vegas attorney Chad Bowers and attorneys from the firm of Winston & Strawn, filed an Answer and Counterclaim on behalf of Democratic Underground, a political website that Righthaven sued when a Democratic Underground member posted a five-sentence excerpt from a Review-Journal article. Counterclaims were asserted against Stephens Media as well as Righthaven. The pleading alleged a "sham relationship" between the newspaper and Righthaven, and accused Righthaven of copyright fraud.
In March 2011, a federal judge dismissed a suit brought by Righthaven, stating that no evidence had been presented that the forum posting of a Las Vegas Review-Journal editorial for 40 days for noncommercial use harmed the market value of the work. In June 2011, Federal District Court Judge Roger L. Hunt ruled that Righthaven had no standing to sue for copyright infringement, on the grounds that the original parties retain the actual copyrights. In August 2011 another case was dismissed by Federal judge Philip Pro, who found that Righthaven had no standing to sue, and in any case the defendant's posting of a Review-Journal editorial to a blog was protected by fair use. The next month the Review-Journal terminated its arrangement with Righthaven. The company was forced into receivership in November 2011 because of unpaid legal settlements.
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- Las Vegas Review-Journal official website