© Copyright Las Vegas Tribune
June 19, 2002

We have the right to brag

After 911, many small businesses suffered, some even closed their doors. The Las Vegas Tribune like many other struggling enterprises was rightfully concerned for our humble newspaper's future. Then something unexpected happened.

Several of our loyal advertisers reduced or canceled their ad buys; however, other advertisers stepped up and took their place on our pages. We believe that the sudden support we received was in response to many people's concern that the Las Vegas Tribune remain in business for all the good we do.

Not only did we continue in business, we soon expanded from twelve to sixteen pages while our country slowly healed! Our classified section filled with Legal Notices thanks to many local attorneys who appreciate our free press, and numbers of small businesses placed card size ads throughout the rest of the paper to keep us afloat.

As we struggled to survive, some tried to take advantage of us assuming we were in dire straights. Not surprisingly, more than one local advertising agency tried to extort us with offers of new advertisers in exchange for being allowed to control some of our editorial content. We bravely refused their bribes and showed them the door. This newspaper would rather be history than succumb to such un-American practices.

The Las Vegas Tribune will never be the Wall Street Journal by any stretch of the imagination, but we are a proud and burly bunch that will fight to our dying breath to preserve our Constitutionally guaranteed right of freedom of the press.

We scoffed at feeble attempts to silence us. Last year when a topless joint owner tried to get a Gag Order to stop our ongoing coverage of violence at his place of business, the Tribune pre-wrote a front page story that would have violated the order had it been granted. While the judge was busy throwing out the order, our paper was being printed with a headline that would have put several of us in jail for contempt had she ruled the other way.

Thanks to the ACLU and the Editor of the RJ who showed up in court in support of the First Amendment, the judge had a quick change of heart. Freedom of the Press prevailed and we carried on our series of articles exposing a very dangerous situation and the political corruption that lets it continue undaunted.

Then something wonderful happened. The Tribune website succeeded in generating more "hits" per day than the Las Vegas Sun! We closely monitored the issues that received the most readership online and discovered that when we featured front-page stories about our nemesis, the topless bar owner, our website caught fire (not literally)! We know we have a tiger by the tail and today's front page again reflects our reader's desire for more information on this important subject.

Then, last week following another in Steve Miller's series on the Crazy Horse, KVBC TV, KTNV TV, KLAS TV, and Cox Cable News picked up our story and ran more than fifteen prime time TV news minutes expanding upon the issues that we broke on our front page in last week's edition. In fact, the Tribune's front page was featured in the TV news stories. I guess we can't ask for a better accolade for our perseverance on this politically incorrect story.

In the meantime, two of the Tribune Editor in Chief's closest friends asked that we stop our "attacks" on their friend the topless bar owner and his politically connected associates. Though the men who approached Mr. Larraz are very influential local businessmen who are not known to make unreasonable requests, they remain in high esteem with Mr. Larraz.

He answered their requests with continued coverage of what he believes are issues that deserve to be exposed. Larraz explained that the Tribune was not "attacking" anyone, just doing its duty to report events that effect public safety. He also told his friends that the Tribune would have nothing to write about if their friend the bar owner protected the safety of his patrons.

It is unfortunate, but most Las Vegas news outlets are accustomed to being coerced by local movers and shakers. Most, when faced with "requests" from influential businessmen or advertising agency executives have succumbed to the pressure and either killed important but embarrassing stories about local, select people, or edited the content so as not to offend those who control the purse strings.

The Las Vegas Tribune will continue through hardship as is exemplified by the United States government. We, along with our nation, have proven that we are survivors under the harshest of circumstances.

We wish to take this opportunity to thank our loyal readers and advertisers, and make the following promise: The staff and management of this humble newspaper will continue to cover the important stories that the "mainstream media" shy away from, no matter the consequences.

We may never become rich with our brave endeavor, but we are the wealthiest newspaper in this valley because our reward is the knowledge that the Las Vegas Tribune is truly a free press.