Another change of pace and face at the Las Vegas newspaper

In politics it’s called “the optics.” No matter what you say or do, it also matters how it looks.

With today’s farewell column by Jane Ann Morrison — she’s being switched in the “reorganization” from general interest news columnist to covering city hall, she says — the visible staff of the Las Vegas Review-Journal is visibly bereft of distaff faces and voices.

Jane Ann Morrison's farewell column.

Jane Ann Morrison’s farewell column.

City editor Mary Hynes was let go some time ago and more recently newsdesk editor Mary Greeley was shown the door, along with many others, now Jane Ann’s auburn locks are being removed from sight. Yes, I remember when she announced “my column would discuss my first time … coloring my hair.” And, yes, to my masculine amazement it generated considerable attention and general amusement among the paper’s readers — male and female. It was a topic that would have never crossed my mind.

The only female face to be seen in the “reorganization” or cronyization is someone named Blue Ash, who was named publisher of Luxury magazine, a niche pub that tilts heavily to the female demographic. Ash was the division sales manager at the magazine and there was no publisher. So, basically she got a new title.

I did not cockroach* Jane Ann’s farewell column so she could move on with her own words out first.

She hit the high points in this last column from her 10 years of alternately sharing the Nevada section cover with John L. Smith. We disagreed on whether judges should be appointed instead of elected. We agreed on giving patients easier access to doctor’s backgrounds and malpractice history. Her pieces on the hoarder were disturbing but accomplished some good for the hoarder and his neighbors — something journalists strive for: making a difference.

As she herself pointed out, (“I was loved and loathed, depending on the reader’s point of view, because I was paid to have an opinion. Now I’ll be paid to be fair and accurate.”) she’ll have a hard time walking up to the mayor, whose state of the city speech she largely panned, and saying: “Hello, I’m here to be an objective reporter. Pay no attention to all those opinions and comments behind the curtain of ancient history.” Jane Ann can do it, but it’ll be a whiplash transition.

I guess that promise in that editorial “to keep popular columns in familiar places” didn’t apply to the news section.

At least, unlike so many others with decades of experience as reporters and editors at the Review-Journal, she has a job for now. But she and all those who remain will have to remember to keep dodging the wrecking ball and hope the boss doesn’t have some crony from L.A. or Denver who wants your job. Good luck, Jane Ann. Keep your head down.

*Cockroach: A old Texas journalism term that describes what happens when someone finds out a competitor is working on a story and decides to jump out in front with a half-assed, half-reported piece that taints the value of the competitor’s scoop. So named because what a cockroach doesn’t eat, it wallows around in and spoils for everyone else.

11 comments on “Another change of pace and face at the Las Vegas newspaper

  1. Vernon Clayson says:

    Don’t ask for whom the bell tolls, Ms. Morrison.

  2. Please don’t take this wrongly, but I feel that ‘making a difference’ is best left to social workers; jounalists should be objective and open-minded.
    Readers can decide for themselves without encouragement from those in the 4th ST8.

  3. We’ll have to disagree. Reporters should point out what is going on. It is up to the citizens to act or not. The reporter merely provides the knowledge. And that can make all the difference.


  4. Jimmy Y. says:

    It sounds like a misogynistic, demoralized, and directionless newsroom. The question becomes when will good people get fed up and quit? Where else can you get a job in journalism these days? Could it be they are stuck there?

  5. Take my word, they are stuck.

  6. Vernon Clayson says:

    They serve at the pleasure of their employer, if it’s the pleasure of the employer to throw employees out, out they go. It would be nice to believe that owners have the ideals of journalism in their heart but it’s dollars, not sense. (That’s not a grammatical error.) I wonder if students taking journalism courses wonder the value of their studies when they see the death throes of newsprint, maybe higher education should change journalism courses to writing for politicians, all that’s needed us a vivid imagination and no conscience as each new day for a politician requires new truths to override yesterday’s truths, as the politician sees them.

  7. Let’s face it, like what James Baldwin wrote decades ago, it’s A Brave New World.

    The planet now belongs to the young folks, most of them are struggling to survive with dignity. Us older folks have royally screwed up their future saddling them with a near $18 trillion in national debt, $90 trillion in unfunded liabilities promises, and an American Nation now transformed into a mediocre socialist state a la Europen countries.

    Like it or not, today’s “old” reporter should reports on this new fact of life, if they understand it at all….So, is Jane Morrison going to understand the new “landscape?”. Retirement should be a better option but look at Andy Rooney who worked for “100 years” for CBS News ; His retirement killed him only weeks later (due to internal depression, decompression and implosion).

  8. Steve says:

    I met Jane one day in a line outside the old Horseshoe.
    I mentioned I watched her on NWR.

    She smiled and replied “you and my mom”!

    I will miss her opinions in print and trust she will be objective and accurate to a fault.
    I can get a view on people pretty quick, its a skill one needs in my job.

  9. Vernon Clayson says:

    Eddie in Liberty, take the fault for conditions today if you wish, us “older folks” and our forebears made this the most prosperous nation ever, fought in wars and for the most part lived hard working lives. Younger people gave us Obama and most members of the Congress, there’s a fact for you. They also gave us Bill Clinton and, if you recall, the Democrat boast was that he left the nation with surplus and Bush squandered it. There was no surplus when Clinton left and there never will be a surplus; now Obama and his minions in the Congress will have the nation at debt never before seen. Generations of young people will grow old and government in whatever form will continue its profligacy through more generations of politicians. Our descendants to the end of our lines won’t even scratch the surface of the debt these bastards have piled on taxpayers.

  10. Vernon Clayson, I agree with you and you have misunderstood my comment. Maybe I just did not say it right. What I meant was that both Democrats and neocon Republicans run this country down to the ground. It took the National Debt over 200 years to reach $1trillion and added another $17 trillion (almost) in just 14 years (Obama alone has piled on another $8 trillion (?) in just 5 years.

    All the debt and deficit will inhibit young folks to progress like their forbears. .

  11. AllenC says:

    It’s good to get more “faces” in the paper, not the other way around. People relate better to “their” newspaper this way.

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