THE B.S. :

Bruce Spotleson: Reinvention

Let me ask you this: Who ever said trying to be great is easy? Not us.

Bruce Spotleson

When USA TODAY first began in 1982, a lot of veteran newspaper and magazine journalists across the nation refused to take it seriously. Pointing to its shorter news stories and formula layout, they sarcastically dubbed it “McPaper,” a pejorative referring to certain negatives associated with fast food production.

With less competition for news, newspaper editors in particular could afford to be snobbish and more conservative back then. But even those who publicly criticized USA TODAY were privately learning from it.

Among other things, they noticed that its bright use of color was appealing to readers, that weather was a more popular news topic than anyone had previously thought, and—perhaps the biggest surprise—that the business pages actually didn’t have to be dull or boring.

Well known for stealing each other’s ideas, newspaper editors in particular soon began making adjustments. Traditionally, the business pages had usually anchored the back end of sports sections—a reader convenience that generally made sense, since sports was historically followed by males, and males had of course traditionally run the business world. Mostly white males, actually.

But times were changing. Women were increasingly working outside the home and gradually moving into executive positions, as were a growing number of minorities and people of color. Hoping to gain market share with these emerging audiences, publishers everywhere began re-packaging their business content, making sure to reflect the unique interests and characteristics of their own business communities.

The business world is more diverse today, and in a totally different way, so are the media. The actual printed content is now just one of the news sources we offer. We also must produce a substantial website and busy messaging on Facebook and Twitter.

Still, in the crowded world of modern media, it’s more critical than ever to reflect the unique interests and characteristics of our own communities.

As you turn the pages of this first issue of VEGAS INC, you’ll find news presented in a format that actually reflects the special place in which we all live and conduct business. The format and content are more lively than they used to be.

The Las Vegas business community is exciting and fun and a whole lot of other descriptives. Our goal is to see that VEGAS INC is as well.

In recent weeks, you’ve perhaps seen us promoting our launch in the social media, where we’ve in recent years built a legion of followers. But social media aren’t really what we’re measured by. Our true value is in how many readers we have in print and online. Readership is what matters to us.

It’s been that way ever since we started In Business Las Vegas in June 2000. It was in the interests of readership that we began covering topics such as real estate, development, tourism and health care, and also to introduce a broad selection of focused, business-related special publications.

You rewarded us by bringing us into your world. According to detailed research conducted by the nationally recognized Media Audit, an estimated 36,000 individuals read last week’s final issue of In Business. And a whopping 87,000 readers read at least one of its final March issues.

Which brings us, at long last, to the big question: If things are going so well, why on earth would we radically change a winning formula?

We’ve done so because we feel that the magazine you hold today will much better reflect the interests and audiences in the Southern Nevada business community. We feel that the improvements in our website will make it more useful and valuable. And we feel that, as we gradually move away from recessionary times, the timing is perfect for energized local business media, and we anticipate further success as a result.

Led by Editor-in-Chief Richard Pérez-Feria, we now immodestly feel that we’re poised to take business news and information to a new level in the world’s most dynamic city.

Popular longtime content will remain on our menu, as will our special sections and the events that often celebrate them. New and expanded features will be a reflection of what we’ve learned about other things you’re interested in, and you’ll notice a renewed emphasis on people-related news.

The mainframe of it all will be the business information that you demand from us. That will of course remain our bread and butter.

In a city known for reinvention, In Business Las Vegas has been born again as VEGAS INC.

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  1. Congratulations on the new publication. It's good to see fine newspapers developing new products to attract readers and I look forward to being a regular reader.