The Las Vegas Sun has been named one of 10 U.S. newspapers “that do it right” by the media trade journal Editor & Publisher.
This is the ninth year Editor & Publisher has compiled such a list, answering its own question, “Is anybody in this industry doing it right?”
In announcing its 2009 list, the magazine noted that even as the newspaper industry has been clobbered by the miserable economy, “shrunken newsroom staffs are producing some amazing work that shines a light on corruption or just makes a reader glad she picked up the paper.”
Named first on the list, published Monday, was the Sun, with this explanation by editor-at-large Mark Fitzgerald:
“When the Las Vegas Sun ceased publishing as a separate newspaper in 2005 and became a section tucked inside copies of its joint-operating-agreement partner, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, many industry commentators — including a tut-tutting E&P editorial — concluded the Sun was finished as a voice in Sin City.
“Instead, it was truly at last finding its voice. The Sun’s staff of 48 fills its eight-page, usually ad-free daily section with enterprise reporting and the sort of explanatory and investigative journalism imperiled at bigger papers trying with shrunken newsrooms to do everything they once did.
It noted that the Sun and reporter Alexandra Berzon won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service by “following up on breaking stories of construction deaths the R-J dutifully filed, and forgot.”
It quoted Sun Managing Editor Michael J. Kelley: “I think the future of print journalism is very likely what we’re doing now, or some form very near it.”
Also named among 10 newspapers “that do it right” were:
• The Sioux City (Iowa) Journal for finding and printing stories that readers will talk about.
• The Briefing, a single-section newspaper delivered by the Dallas Morning News, for packaging news summaries “for busy moms.”
• The Post-Star of Glens Falls, N.Y., for empowering citizens to pry into government, including by offering online help for requesting records.
• The East Bay Express in Emeryville, Calif., for promoting community enterprises.
• The Star Tribune of Minneapolis, for enabling readers to inspect all 6,600 disputed ballots in the U.S. Senate race between Republican Norm Coleman and the eventual winner, Democrat Al Franken.
• The St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, for using watchdog reporters and digital technology to analyze political promises and assertions.
• The Daily Independent of Ridgecrest, Calif., for engaging young people in journalism by printing the high school paper at cost and offering newsroom internships.
• The New Times in Phoenix, for its aggressive, stubborn investigation of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
• The Cincinnati Enquirer, where an emphasis on watchdog and public-service journalism has resulted in an increase in circulation.