By Alexandra Cohen
Las Vegas Tribune
Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told the executive board members from the Society of Professional Journalists Las Vegas that he would invite all news agencies to future State of Metro speeches, but Las Vegas Tribune is still blocked from any Metro information and the twenty-two-year-old weekly that is known for its criticism of the Lombardo administration continues. Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo gave his annual State of Metro address but few people knew about it, including most of the Las Vegas Valley’s media because the Sheriff did not communicate the event to the local media.
The hour-long speech, as KLAS-TV, Channel 8 news reported, was the only media outlet inside the building. It marked the second consecutive year the daily Las Vegas newspaper and radio and television stations were not invited to the speech. SPJLV (Society of Professional Journalists Las Vegas) met with Lombardo last Wednesday, February 26, to discuss a letter the organization — along with six Nevada professionals’ newsroom staff — had sent earlier in February to share concerns that the agency had failed to invite most Nevada news agencies to the department’s annual address at the Smith Center. Despite this concession from Clark County’s top cop, the meeting did not go well, as Lombardo angrily stormed out of the meeting just minutes later. SPJLV had hoped to have a broad dialogue with the sheriff about access and transparency issues. “Regardless, we will not stop advocating on behalf of Southern Nevada journalists and for transparency from Nevada’s largest police department” the Society of Professional Journalists Las Vegas stated in an email sent out to the local media. SPJLV President Wesley Juhl said: “We had hoped to make the sheriff understand that events like ‘State of Metro’ allow journalists, and by extension the public, to engage with and understand LVMPD policies. We hope that Lombardo will honor his commitment to invite all newsrooms in the future.”
Sheriff Joe Lombardo, who does not take criticism lightly, followed the Gillespie administration pattern to a “T” and closed the doors of the alleged Public Information Office — which is nothing more than a public relations office for the Sheriff and his administration — instead of opening it to those who dare to write about or report the wrongs of the department.
The Public Information Office, run by a civilian female friend of the previous sheriff, Douglas Gillespie, is hidden in a secluded room to which only “friends” of the sheriff and his administration have access.
During all the years of the Sheriff Department’s two previous administrations, the so-called “large and powerful” local newspaper
never opened its pages to defend the Las Vegas Tribune.
The national organization, Society of Professional Journalists Las Vegas (SPJLV) sent a letter Tuesday to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department calling for more transparency from the department following its failure to alert the press — and by extension, the public — to its annual State of Metro address. “For at least the second year in a row, the police department has given this address without notifying the public or press in advance. SPJLV does not represent any one particular news outlet but instead is an association made up of individual journalists from a variety of outlets who are working to foster a vibrant community for Southern Nevada journalists and to advocate on their behalf. They can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.