Monday, Oct. 3, 2005 | 8:45 a.m.
Although the Las Vegas Sun now is delivered with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the community-spirited newspaper maintains the pledge that it gave its readers 55 years ago: to remain a fiercely strong and independent voice.
Despite the joint delivery arrangement, The Sun remains a fierce competitor of the Review-Journal. By sharing the R-J's larger circulation, the Sun will ensure that its independent voice will more clearly be heard.
The Sun staff, upholding the newspaper's rich history and the ideals of its late publisher Hank Greenspun, continues the pledge he wrote when he published his first edition on June 21, 1950:
"I have purchased this newspaper ... in the belief that the southern part of Nevada is desperately in need of another newspaper. There can only be a free press when a competitive spirit prevails.
"I pledge that I will always fight for progress and reform; never tolerate injustice or corruption; never lack sympathy with the underprivileged; always remain devoted to the public welfare; never be satisfied with merely printing the news; and always be dramatically independent."
The Sun's history has been one of dramatic independence -- exposing powerful demagogues, including U.S. Sens. Pat McCarran and Joe McCarthy in the 1950s; crusading for desegregation of the Strip hotels in the 1960s, and taking the Internal Revenue Service to task in the 1970s and '80s.
Since the Sun went from being a morning paper to an afternoon publication in 1990 after entering into a joint operating agreement with the Review-Journal, its staff has provided readers with same-day coverage of breaking news on par with the timeliness of TV newscasts but in a far more comprehensive manner.
In the past 15 years, the Sun also has provided readers with prize-winning enterprise journalism, thought-provoking stories and insightful opinions. And it will continue to do so independent of what appears in the sections that surround it every day.
The Sun was founded in May 1950 as the Las Vegas Free Press. It was started by typographical workers who were locked out by the Review-Journal after they tried to form a union.
Two months later, Greenspun purchased the Free Press, then located at North Main Street and Bonanza Road, for $104,000 and renamed it the Sun on July 1, 1950.
That December, Greenspun moved the Sun to 900 S. Main St. In November 1963, the building burned to the ground and the paper moved to 900 S. Commerce St. behind the gutted Sun plant.
In the months following the fire, the Sun earned a place in American newspaper folklore when it wrote and edited its stories in Las Vegas, then transmitted the laid-out pages to various Los Angeles plants, which printed the newspaper and flew it back to Las Vegas for the next morning's delivery.
In 1989, the year Greenspun died, the Sun entered into the joint operating agreement under which its circulation, advertising, promotion and production operations were combined with those of the Review-Journal.
Both papers, however, maintained separate and independent newsrooms, with the Sun publishing sections on Saturday and Sunday inside the Review-Journal and a separate afternoon paper on weekdays.
After lengthy stays at plants on Martin L. King Boulevard and Valley View Boulevard, the Sun moved its operations in 2001 to a 22,000-square-foot, top-floor suite of a new three-story building at 2275 Corporate Circle in Henderson, where it operates today.
Over the past 15 years, the Sun's circulation has declined significantly, mirroring a pattern of afternoon papers nationwide.
That and other factors prompted negotiations that resulted in the newly designed, streamlined Sun being delivered with the Review-Journal.
The Sun is published by Greenspun's widow, Barbara Greenspun. The paper's president and editor is Brian Greenspun, Hank's son.
Today, the Sun is part of one of Nevada's largest media groups that includes the Henderson Home News, Boulder City News, Green Valley News, South Valley News, In Business Las Vegas, VegasGolfer Magazine, Showbiz Weekly, Las Vegas Weekly, Las Vegas Life, VEGAS magazine, Las Vegas magazine and the Ralston Flash e-mail newsletter.
The family also owns KTUD Channel 25 (UPN) and is one-third owners of Las Vegas ONE, Cox cable channel 19.
The corporation also owns VEGAS.com and operates lasvegas.com, Web sites that allow tourists to plan their Las Vegas trips in advance.
Ed Koch can be reached at (702) 259-4090 or at [email protected]