Who might the mystery investors in Las Vegas newspaper be?

It is a riddle wrapped in an enigma.

First, the Las Vegas Review-Journal announced that it and the other Nevada newspapers operated by Gatehouse Media were sold for an unstated amount to a company called News + Media, whose investors are also unstated.

Then today, the paper reports the sale was for $140 million for the Nevada publications, which is $38 million more than the original sale nearly a year ago for all of the Stephens Media chain of newspapers that included the Review-Journal, eight other dailies and 65 weekly newspapers. The story says some of the unnamed investors are from Las Vegas.

The report includes this rather awkward editorial comment, “The amount points to investors with deep pockets and a perhaps even deeper desire to own Nevada’s biggest newspaper even though the paper’s revenues, like those of all print publications, have been in decline.”

The story claims the paper’s Sunday circulation is still 184,000, the same as when the new publisher was named this past summer, which is highly unlikely, but it does not mention a daily circulation figure, which was stated as 95,000 in June, also unlikely. There have been no publicly released audited circulation figures in a couple of years that I can find. Daily circulation was once near 200,000.

This story also includes a couple of nationally known journalism critics questioning the ethical problems and conflicts of interest that might arise from having unknown ownership.

Since some of the investors are from Las Vegas and a question of ethics is being raised, one can easily leap to the speculation that one or more of those secret investors might be members of the Greenspun clan, though it is questionable whether any of them has enough capital left after the recession to be a major investor.

Today’s story quotes media critic and New York University professor Jay Rosen as saying, “One of the first thoughts I had was: Nevada is an early primary state. The Review-Journal is the largest newspaper in the state. Was it sold to a player in that event, or people who want to be players?”

Las Vegas Sun owner Brian Greenspun has long aspired to be a player, supporting Harry Reid and anything with the Democrat label. The Sun is still inserted daily in the morning Review-Journal under a joint operating agreement that runs until 2040, though the local content currently is negligible and mostly limited to sports and entertainment. Greenspun has sued Stephens Media for $6 million, claiming underpayment under the JOA.

Rosen added, “That slightly conspiratorial thought may be way off base. Of course, there is no way to know as long as the ownership remains hidden. That’s the point.”

The first story said Gatehouse would continue to manage the R-J under an agreement with new owners and today’s has the current publisher saying he has been assured that the new owners will not meddle in the newspaper’s editorial content.

That qualifies for a huge horse laugh. No owner of a newspaper can help meddling. That’s a fact, Jack.

R-J publisher Jason Taylor speaks to the newspaper staff Thursday. (R-J photo)

 

 

 

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16 comments on “Who might the mystery investors in Las Vegas newspaper be?

  1. Patrick says:

    Sure is strange, on lots of levels. Las Vegas has been poorly served this “newspaper” though for so many years, it just can’t possibly get worse even if the current owner decides to continue using the newspaper as previous owners have; as a propaganda tool to further their own interests.

    I mean, can’t remember the RJ publishing any real news regarding subjects that might put Stevens Group energy interests, payday lending, and other….”free market” interests in a bad light in my many years of reading it.

  2. Patrick says:

    “Advance America” “Merged this company with provider of payday advances and other financial products with Grupo Elektra S.A.B. de C.V. ” 2012

    http://www.stephens.com/private-equity/portfolio/

  3. Steve says:

    A quick search turns up more than a dozen pay day loan articles from the RJ.

    Patnyp is exercising “selective” reading and memory skills again.

  4. Yes, but I think most of those were under Gatehouse, but also Patrick’s link has nothing about the two companies he mentions.

  5. But in more than 20 years I was never told to lay off any topic.

  6. Patrick says:

    Thomas you just have to click the “prior investments” box at the top of the page and it will pull it up.

    And MAYBE the reason you weren’t told to lay off any subjects, is because your philosophy so closely aligned with the interests of Stevens to begin with, and you weren’t going to chose a topic, and be on the wrong side enough to matter.

  7. Steve says:

    The RJ ran a bunch of payday loan stories in 2007.
    Including one letter from Barbara Buckley decidedly against them.

  8. Patrick says:

    So, the RJ ran lots of stories in slanted for payday lenders, and a letter to the editor from a politician against them?

    And that’s evidence of the RJs neutrality?

    Not in my book it’s not.

  9. Steve says:

    “So, the RJ ran lots of stories in slanted for payday lenders”

    I didn’t say what the slant was.

    I did say they ran a lot of stories about them. Including that letter and a number hard news articles.

    Not many opinion pieces come up in any search.

  10. Patrick says:

    Didn’t say anything about whether you said they were slanted.

    And, they were, because, as I said, that rag has been little more than a propaganda tool for its masters for years.

  11. Steve says:

    Unlike the Sun, news in the RJ was pleasantly unbiased.

    The editorials were kept well separated from the news.

    For the most part this is still the case.

    For both papers. The sun remains as biased as ever.

  12. Patrick says:

    Nonsense.

    The RJ is and was, always nothing but a tool of the far right wing owners of the publication.

    It is what it is and was.

  13. Steve says:

    Well, you can’t say that anymore, no one (publicly) knows who owns it.

    Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one, knows one and they all stink.

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