Las Vegas still has two independent newspapers thanks to Brian Greenspun. Yesterday Greenspun, who is the Publisher and Editor of the Las Vegas Sun, also took full ownership of the newspaper by acquiring 100% of the share of its parent organization Greenspun Media Group.
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This resolves a long simmering dispute amongst the family members who have controlled the ailing publication, which has suffered heavily in the age of digital journalism along with many others.
The Sun was founded by Greenspun’s parents Hank and Barbara Greenspun, and his father, in particular, had been famous as a crusading newspaper proprietor taking on anybody who in his view deserved it, from Senator Mcarthy to the gambling business to political corruption.
After his death, and the later death of his widow, the family’s wealth and the control of it was divided between Greenspun and his three siblings, Danny Greenspun, Susan Greenspun-Fine and Jane Greenspun-Gale. As often happens the siblings eventually fell out, in this case over the poor prospects, and increasingly even poorer financial results, for the Sun’s print journalism in the brave new world of new media
For several years the paper has been printed and distributed by its cross town rival the, larger, Review-Journal. It does so under provisions of the Newspaper Preservation Act, which the United Sates Congress passed in 1970 and under which the Review-Journal had been basically compelled to help out its smaller competitor under an agreement termed the Joint Operating Agreement.
When the Review-Journal tried to rescind this agreement last year, and to compensate the Greenspuns by giving them exclusive rights to the LasVegas.com domain name several family members wanted to go along with them, in order to escape the obligations of a poor performing print newspaper.
Brian Greenspun would not agree, however, and went to court last year both against the Review-Journal and his own family to prevent it, determined to protect his father’s legacy. Now he has succeeded and, with the divvying up of parts of the family holdings amongst the different members he is taking over sole control of the newspaper and Greensun Media Group himself. Other assets being divided up include a tourism website, vegas.com, Niche Media and a real estate development company, American Nevada, the developer of Green Valley.
Accordingly Brian Greenspun and his wife Myra announced the new ownership arrangements to the staff of the paper in the offices of Greenspun Media Group yesterday. At the same time Greenspun is also withdrawing the suit he filed last year to prevent his siblings and Stephens Media, the company which owns the Review-Journal, from entering an agreement to do away with the Joint Operating Agreement.
Brian Greenspun said to the Sun, “This is a happy day for me, ” adding, “This community must have, and richly deserves, multiple newspaper organizations covering it. We’re here to stay and here to thrive.” Under the agreement, Brian Greenspun also took control of other GMG publications which will all continue to be produced.
Full ownership of Niche Media, a national network of high-quality luxury magazines, will be transferred to his sister Janie Greenspun Gale and her husband Jeff Gale. “I think Janie and Jeff are going to have a great success with Niche Media and I look forward to seeing what they do with it going forward, ” Brian Greenspun said.
Ric Anderson, managing editor of the GMG newsroom said, “Our ability to compete with the nation’s finest news organizations, many of which are much larger than ours, starts with the leadership of Brian Greenspun, ” adding “With his vision, passion and incredible commitment to this community, he sets the tone for us to produce at the highest level to serve Las Vegas. Our goal is to shine as the hometown, locally owned newspaper, serving the community.”
The Sun points out in its reporting of the deal today that the announcement of yesterday’s agreement came on the 64th anniversary of the day the Sun was published for the first time on July 1st, 1950. It also adds that the lead stories in that edition had included a development in the Korean War, the naming of a new police chief in Las Vegas and the city experiencing its, so far, hottest day of the year.
Explaining his determination to keep the paper going Brian Greenspun said, “Sixty-four years ago today, on the birth of the Las Vegas Sun, my father pledged in his ‘Where I Stand’ column that he and his entire staff would ‘try to make this newspaper representative of the people of Southern Nevada; we will try to make it your newspaper.’ ”
“My ownership of GMG and the Las Vegas Sun means that, with the community’s help, we get to keep trying.”