Excellence in Journalism 2014 | Nashville, Tenn.


Commanding quality content

By The EIJ News

By Alexandra Lopez and Gregan Wingert

“We get people who say ‘I was on Las Vegas Sun and I lost myself,’” said Rob Curley, the speaker at Tuesday’s “Super Session: Re-imagining News.”

Rob Curley, editor of the new-media division of the Las Vegas Sun and Greenspun Media Group, leads session attendees on a fast-paced tour through the Sun’s website. (NIKKI VILLORIA / The Working Press)
Rob Curley, editor of the new-media division of the Las Vegas Sun and Greenspun Media Group, leads session attendees on a fast-paced tour through the Sun’s website. (NIKKI VILLORIA / The Working Press)

Curley, who serves as editor of the new-media division of the Las Vegas Sun and Greenspun Media Group, said the Sun is committed to “Big-J” journalism.

The website features 45 online-only multimedia stories daily. It publishes eight to 10 print pages without advertisements each day delivered inside the Las Vegas Review-Journal under a joint operating agreement. The Sun’s “Spotlight” section of its website highlights special multimedia efforts. Some feature interactive maps, others boast photo essays.

The Sun focuses on doing “how” and “why” journalism, which provides a more in-depth analysis of local news, Curley said.

(NIKKI VILLORIA  / The Working Press)
(NIKKI VILLORIA / The Working Press)
Audience members learn how the Las Vegas Sun is leading the way in new media innovations. (NIKKI VILLORIA  / The Working Press)
Audience members learn how the Las Vegas Sun is leading the way in new media innovations. (NIKKI VILLORIA / The Working Press)

Curley’s fast-paced style kept curious audience members alert with a virtual tour of the website and its vast bank of online content.

“The Sun is doing the most innovative, creative stuff out there and it’s focused on public utility and is fantastic public service journalism,” said session attendee Evan Bush, a student at the Missouri School of Journalism.

“The webby-type stuff is really cool and useful in everyday situations for people on the town as well as the hard-hitting, investigative news,” he said.

Brian Greenspun, president and editor of the Las Vegas Sun, was stationed towards the front of the audience and chimed in occasionally. (NIKKI VILLORIA  / The Working Press)
Brian Greenspun, president and editor of the Las Vegas Sun, was stationed towards the front of the audience and chimed in occasionally. (NIKKI VILLORIA / The Working Press)

“When you saw our site, you didn’t see Lindsay Lohan, it was real journalism,” Curley said. “So we had to figure out what real journalism was.”

Building upon the concept that readers need to be “healthy” and educated on the meaning behind important breaking news, the Sun covers topics from hospital care and politics to local sports and entertainment, and builds detailed databases into the website.

Curley’s virtual tour showed off the website’s in-depth sports coverage of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

“We built this for people who are passionate about this team,” he said.

The section features play-by-play updates and tweets during the game. Podcasts, photo slide shows, video and in-depth analysis are available as soon as 20 minutes after the game ends.

Website viewers can follow and post moderated tweets with reporter Ryan Greene who covers UNLV sports. The Sun requires users to register or sync their profiles through Facebook Connect in order to personalize home pages and comment on stories.

“Being yourself on the Internet is the new black,” Curley said.

Other aspects of the website include a Las Vegas history section that allows users to explore the city’s infamous mob past, watch old hotels implode and trace a timeline of the development of the Strip.

“Online we would document the history of the city,” he said.

After the presentation, Curley explained the Sun’s online content with a culinary metaphor.

“When you order at a steakhouse, the chef gives you the steak, mashed potatoes, and puts the broccoli on there because he knows you needed that broccoli,” he said. “Our Big-J journalism is that broccoli.”

For more information, visit www.lasvegassun.com.