Setting sail into a new world of journalism

Welcome aboard The Nevada Independent.

We are about to embark on a grand journalistic adventure, and we want you along for the ride. This is your state, your news, your voice.

Over a span of three decades, I have done everything I have wanted to do in journalism and more. From night reporter to columnist to TV host, I have approached this wonderful profession with passion and zeal. I have interviewed local and national politicians, met hundreds of interesting people and loved every phase.

Now, it’s time for a new one.

I decided earlier this year to try the one job I have always mused about, the one role I have wanted as a career capstone: editor. So during the last six months or so, with the help of my marvelous managing editor, Elizabeth Thompson, we have built something out of nothing, the site you are on right now.

This is the culmination of 30 years of covering what a friend of mine used to call the only game for adults, the endlessly fascinating movement of chess pieces in a match where the stakes are high and the consequences are real. It is a contest where human foibles eventually will be exposed, where the fittest don’t always survive, where the ends often do not justify the means.

One eternal truism about politics is that it is everywhere – in all governments, in policy issues, in personal relationships. To truly understand why things are happening in an ever more complex world, especially in one where trust is fading and truth is evanescent, you have to understand all aspects: the people, the issues and, yes, the politics.

That’s where we come in.

We are committed to go where no news source in Nevada has gone before: To assemble the best team of journalists in the state and to cover issues important to the public with depth, with insight and with transparency.

I have already told you a little about <a href="">our mission</a>. Our name is not just a name; it is a promise.

The fantastic team I have assembled, the most formidable group of reporters in Nevada, will be truly independent. They are beholden to no one and dedicated to only one purpose, which is to provide you with the best coverage of politics and public policy in state history.

When I conceived of this venture in the middle of 2015, I had three reporters in mind to form the core of our coverage of the Legislature. And I could not be happier that this trio – Michelle Rindels, Megan Messerly and Riley Snyder – will be blanketing the Legislative Building until sine die, showing you not just what is happening but why it is happening. These are the finest reporters in the state, and I am lucky to have them.

We will not neglect Las Vegas during the next 120 days, with the creative and talented Jackie Valley covering everything from education to gaming to municipalities. TNI also is fortunate to have recruited two superb columnists from different sides of the political spectrum – John L. Smith and Orrin Johnson – to opine about topics familiar and otherwise, to bring distinct voices to an often homogenized commentariat.

We will provide timely surveys from one of the best in the buisienss, Mark Mellman, who knows Nevada, the people, the issues. We also have a few surprises in store, including a special correspondent we will unveil on Sunday whose first column will rattle cages and provoke action. Her contributions to TNI will have an impact from Nevada to Washington, DC.

But the most important part of The Nevada Independent will be our readers. Yes, we have to make the ultimate decisions on what to cover and how to write about a panoply of topics. But we want – nay, need – your help.

Whether it’s as simple as commenting on a story or opinion piece or participating in a Facebook Live chat with me or penning an op-ed, you are an essential part of our mission. We want you to make us better. We hope you will tell us where we have gone right and where we have done wrong.

This is a new role for me, too, and I ask for your patience. Some of you out there may know me as a hard-hitting reporter and commentator. That is all I have known for 30 years.

I come to this new incarnation as a tabula rasa, eager to learn, prepared to stumble and excited to evolve. I ask of you only to put aside any preconceived notions, to clean your slate, too, as you judge this new enterprise.

We will make mistakes. But we will correct them as soon as we discover them, and we will explain why we made them.

As we point out relationships among elected officials and lobbyists and special interests, we will be transparent about our own. Our work, I hope, will always stand on its merits, but we will give you all the information so you can judge for yourself.

I have never been more excited about anything in my professional career, not so much because I have confidence in my own abilities but because of this once-in-a-lifetime team that will make me look good every day. This is really about them.

It is truly an honor to be at the helm of a ship staffed by so many stars. I have thought many times about how I would have done things differently if I were in charge of a news organization. “If only I were the editor…” I mused. Well, now I am.

Welcome aboard TNI, folks. It’s going to be quite a ride. Thanks for coming along with us.