Ownership and ethics: A tale of woe for Las Vegas

It has certainly been an interesting last few days for the employees of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Last Thursday, the paper published a story that it had been sold to News + Media Capital Group LLC, which is a little-known group that paid a reported $140 million for the largest daily in the state of Nevada.

The paper had been previously purchased by New Media Investment Group who’s subsidiary GateHouse Media served as management. In the interest of full disclosure, I was previously an employee of GateHouse Media.

Under the new agreement, GateHouse will continue to serve as management for the Review-Journal, but the thing getting at the employees is that no one knows who or what News + Media Capital Group LLC is.

According to the initial story put out by the Review-Journal, the group is “a newly formed Delaware-domiciled company backed by ‘undisclosed financial backers with expertise in the media industry,'”

But, that is not enough for the employees of the newspaper. The Huffington Post has reported employees have started to barrage Twitter with the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics, specifically pointing out the section on accountability and transparency.

So, is News + Media Capital Group LLC compelled to reveal who its financial backers are because they are now owners of a newspaper group? The likely answer is no. There is nothing to suggest the company should or needs to reveal who they are.

However, in an industry once prided on holding people and groups accountable and advocating for government transparency, it is difficult to take the paper seriously when its own ownership group doesn’t abide by the same principles it demands of others.

There has been a lot of speculation as to the members of this ownership group and, perhaps in the near future, it will come to light.

I certainly hope for the sake of the credibility of the Review-Journal that it does.

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