Wednesday, January 22, 2014

RIP, CityLife??!!

When we started the conversation on this little blog of ours nearly five years ago, we did occasionally wonder whether this site was actually necessary. After all, this damned thing is on Blogger! And it's a site slapped together by someone who came here because he didn't always like writing by certain other people's rules.

Oops, did I really just air some of my (quite old) dirty laundry?

Enough of that. Today, we have more important things to talk about. Believe it or not, another one is close to biting the dust. And what might that "another one" be?

Here's a hint: Go back to September and remember what we said about a little law suit involving the viability of the Las Vegas Sun?

[... W]ith the rise of TV newsrooms and online news sites, there are at least theoretically alternatives to the one "newspaper" left standing...

Except that's in theory. What about reality? Just how invested are the local TV stations in supporting real journalism? And can a few scrappy web sites truly make up for losing what was once a great paper?

For now, Southern Nevada still has two newspapers in circulation. We just don't know how much longer this will last. In so many ways, the slow and ugly decline of The Sun reflects the brutal reality of print journalism's dilemma in The Digital Age. And both the recent tabloid-ization of The Sun & the decimated reputation of the other "newspaper" remind us of what happens when corporate profit seeking gets in the way of reporting the news. We may be nearing the end of an era for Southern Nevada, but this is only the continuation of a disturbing trend in journalism.

Last fall, we received a rude awakening. The Sun was already becoming a shell of its former self, but it still had value as a newspaper reporting on real news. What would happen if it were to fully decease?

Even before it started becoming obvious that The Sun's days are numbered, we were concerned about the lack of independent voices in our local media. All too often, both major papers seemed to advocate a certain point of view that looked to be all too convenient for the powers-that-be in this state. Where could we find the news and views that the powers-that-be try to prevent us from seeing?

This is typically where Las Vegas CityLife steps in. For over two decades, CityLife has been more than willing to go places the "traditional media" in this town have refused to go. And even though CityLife has shared the same owner as the "newspaper" for some time, it's somehow avoided to catch the same disease the "newspaper" has refused to cure itself of.

But very soon, this will be no more. Why? Stephens Media recently decided to discontinue its publishing of Las Vegas CityLife. Next week's issue is supposed to be the last.

And this brings us back to where we started this discussion. I honestly never thought I'd be placed in such an awkward position. I've been accustomed to being a tiny electronic cog in much bigger alternative media machine. I never imagined the day when I'd be among the few alternative, independent voices left.

As we've mentioned before, this scrappy little site that was slapped together by some punky little online rabble-rouser just can't replace an entire newspaper. And I know we're not the only ones who realize this. As we speak, a MoveOn petition (calling for Stephens Media to let CityLife live on) is collecting signatures. Who knows, maybe Stephens corporate bosses aren't fully immune from public outrage?

But if that isn't the case, someone will need to fill the void left by a dead CityLife. Paging Vegas Seven?

In the mean time, we'll still be here. We just didn't want to become necessary this way. And we just don't have an entire office to publish an entire newspaper. That's supposed to be where actual newspapers step in. When did it become acceptable for shortsighted corporate greed to kill all this journalism?

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