In addition to misstating under oath the nature of the news series that won the Las Vegas Sun a Pulitzer in 2009, in his affidavit accompanying a lawsuit trying to stop the termination of the Sun, putative editor Brian Greenspun reveals the depths of the plunge of profits at both the Sun and the Review-Journal.
When the joint operating agreement between the Sun and R-J was renegotiated in 2005, I’m pretty sure the basis for payments to the Sun was almost entirely a straight percentage share of the profits of the R-J, with which Greenspun was to run an eight-page section that appeared inside the R-J daily. A copy of that contract was attached to the lawsuit, but the financial details were omitted.
This is what Greenspun’s affidavit reports on those payments:
Take my word for it, $1.3 million to run a newsroom in Las Vegas is meager indeed. If the Sun payment fell 90 percent, the R-J profit likely fell just as precipitously.
So what is the budget for the dominant R-J today, after excising a couple of centuries of newsroom experience, and higher salaries, of course, through termination of a dozen or so top editors?
Today the R-J found an antitrust law professor to say what I told you on day one: The odds of Greenspun winning his legal fight to keep the Sun going is nil.
In addition to blowing the Pulitzer info, Greenspun, in arguing about the valuable journalism provided by the Sun, tossed in the old canard about the Sun fighting for “the safety of an entire section of the Las Vegas community placed in jeopardy by a politically-juiced propane tank that could level homes a mile away.” As per usual, he fails to mention the propane tank was owned by a business rival of his father Hank, a man who seldom missed a chance to use the Sun to further his own financial well-being.
Now, how did Hank get all that Green Valley land for a song? He paid $280 an acre for nearly 5,000 acres in 1971 and then turned around and sold much of it for $3,000 to $5,000 an acre. (Thanks for putting that on the record, A.D. Hopkins.)
Whether there is a non-compete clause in the termination of the Sun or not, and that is a matter as unresolved, without the R-Js $1.3 million financial teat for support, Greenspun forecasts the end of the Sun and its website: