Publisher & Editor, The Las Vegas Sun
Las Vegas, NV
I have witnessed a number of those “Ah-ha” moments about just how powerful media is in a community.
I was too young, really, to pay attention to the [Sen. Joseph] McCarthy and [the Sen. Pat] McCarran days, but I was around here and pretty close during the Hughes days, and when Howard Hughes was thinking about moving to Las Vegas.
Las Vegas was in bad shape in the mid-60s. It had been overbuilt and real estate prices had crashed and on and on and on, I mean it was a cycle that we went through, and we needed a huge shot in the arm.
My dad was instrumental in bringing Howard Hughes here, in large part because he could help guarantee that Hughes would be treated properly – he wouldn’t be hounded, he wouldn’t be maligned and oppressed. You know, he couldn’t guarantee 100 percent. He could use the power of his office – if you will – to help ensure that. And Hughes came, and had it not been for Howard Hughes, Las Vegas would’ve probably gone a whole different direction.
You know, you pick any kind of major election in this state – The Las Vegas Sun has been a major, major player. We have taken candidates who had absolutely no chance of winning and supported them to the hilt, and they won. I can’t tell you we’re taking all the credit for that, but had we not been involved; we would’ve left it to the forces – I call it, the forces of darkness – and the wrong people would’ve won in my opinion, and so you see the power of the media.
You also see [the] power of the media – the credibility of the media – in terms of businesses that want to come to Las Vegas. They almost invariably come to the publisher’s office to talk about – tell me about the town, blah, blah, blah. So it allows us to help sell the town. They wouldn’t be going to the shoe store guy or someone else – they come to the newspaper because the perception is we know something about the town, and we have some influence in the town. Whether it’s true or not is not the point – there is that perception.
And most recently, I’m not gonna’ take credit for Sen. Reed’s victory, but everybody knows that he was in a very difficult race, and we pulled out all the stops, if you will, because we thought his reelection was absolutely essential to the future of the state, and we did what newspapers did in the best tradition of newspapers – we advocated – and proud of it. And Sen. Reed won, and we were a small part of that, but you knew you had some voice and some impact in that.
And we’re in the middle of a huge fight right now, over what kind of state we’re gonna’ be. Are we gonna’ be a state with no education and no quality of life? Or are we going to go the proper direction? We’re advocating again. So we’ll see how that works out.
Well, I think you see it every single day. And mostly what you see is – you see it in the little things.
You see it in the regular lives of people who have nowhere else to go, who managed to make it to the newspaper where you can – you know when you write the story or you can editorialize – you do the things newspapers can do or news organizations can do now. And for the most part you get positive impacts. And you see regular people’s lives change dramatically. So you see that everyday. That’s why I like this job.