Sometimes when you dash off a spot news story on the fly, you wake up the next day with the nagging feeling you buried the lede.
That’s how I feel about the blog posting I dashed off before taking the grandkids on an evening outing to the zoo. Rereading the lede on the Review-Journal’s reply to Brian Greenspun’s federal antitrust suit attempting to block ending the joint operating agreement (JOA) under which the Review-Journal prints a daily Las Vegas Sun insert, I realized Don Campbell and Colby Williams wrote a better newspaper lede than I or the R-J.
Campbell is the eloquent speaker in the firm and Williams is the writer — at least that is the reputation. I suspect this should be attributed to Williams, but I may be wrong:
The instant case represents a poorly camouflaged attempt to transform a long-simmering family feud between the owners of the Las Vegas Sun newspaper (i.e., Plaintiff Brian L. Greenspun on the one hand, and his three siblings on the other hand) into an inflammatory antitrust lawsuit against the Stephens Media Defendants in their capacity as the owners and operators of the Las Vegas Review-Journal (“Review-Journal”), another print and on-line newspaper serving the Las Vegas valley and beyond. Plaintiffs’ Verified Complaint [Dkt. No. 1] and Emergency Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction (“Motion”) are classic examples of misdirection and overreaching. Having been soundly defeated by the other directors and shareholders of The Greenspun Corporation and Las Vegas Sun, Inc. when voting on whether to pursue various corporate transactions with Stephens Media that would neither end the on-line version of the Las Vegas Sun nor prevent the print version from being published by Las Vegas Sun, Inc., the Greenspuns or another party, Plaintiff Brian Greenspun now seeks an end-run around the business judgment exercised by his fellow directors/shareholders and is asking this Court to enjoin Stephens Media from pursuing a non-binding letter of intent and a definitive contract (for which negotiations have not even begun) to effectuate the contemplated transactions with the Greenspun entities — neither of which, tellingly, have been named as parties herein. Suffice it to say, Plaintiffs’ Complaint and Motion fail on the facts and law alike.
It looks like my back of the napkin calculation as to the cost of producing the Sun section was spot on, according to the R-J reply:
The printed Las Vegas Sun is a financial drain on the 2005 JOA. … It costs the Review-Journal over $1 million dollars a year in newsprint, plates, ink, labor, electricity, supplies, and maintenance to produce and distribute the Las Vegas Sun. Id. But the Las Vegas Sun brings in no additional revenue to the 2005 JOA. Id. The Review-Journal believes that if the 2005 JOA is terminated, it will suffer no loss in advertising, circulation, or other revenue
If this whole case were to be summed up in the fewest possible words, perhaps it would be this footnote:
Plaintiffs also appear to contend that if the Las Vegas Sun, Inc. were to lose its annual profits payment from the 2005 JOA, it would be unable to operate the on-line version of the Las Vegas Sun. … Even if that were relevant, it is contradicted by Plaintiffs’ own allegations: although the Las Vegas Sun would lose an annual profit payment which is presently about $1.3 million, Greenspun Media Group would save, as a result of the transfer of the lasvegas.com license, annual licensing fees of up to $2.5 million per year.
A family feud does not an antitrust case make.
Oddly enough, I can find no story about the Friday court filing in the print or online Sun.