Las Vegas Tribune
Every time a publication ends, regardless of how big or small that publication may be, it is with a note of sadness because it is a voice that is being shut down.
No matter if the publication is shut down for monetary reasons, apathy on the part of the community, or is forced to shut down by the government, the enemies of freedom of opinion, or powerful competitors that force the publication out of business, a publication that closes is a voice that is now no longer heard.
Ironically, people use small publications to air their issues or their complaints after first going to the “larger” publication and being ignored or brushed off by the alleged “master.”
In the last issue of the Voices in the Desert, the publisher, Maramis Choufani, who is also independently the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune, took the time to write her long goodbye editorial and part of it was sad, but expected by experience.
People only come to small publications when they are ignored by the big politically-influenced daily newspapers not only in Las Vegas or Pahrump (Nye County) but everywhere in the nation.
“I started it for the good of the town, a gift to Pahrump and the whole county of Nye, and truly felt we had a good chance of turning Pahrump into an example of what a town could be, a town that knows how to speak up and get things done. So many cities and towns are known for the corruption that exists within them, or, these days, even for the underlying sentiments and/ or expressions of racism or hate,”
People lacking confidence, people with insecurities that may own a bigger publication are the ones that may feel threatened by a new small publication; people who are afraid to be singled out for reading a new publication, people who are afraid to advertise in a new small
publication for only a fraction of what the bigger publication may charge because they’re scared of what the bigger publication—one that bills itself as powerful or some other puffed up way of describing itself — may do to them are the ones who deprive themselves of an alternative voice, a difference of opinion that may open their eyes to a different way of seeing things.
During Clark County’s so-called “trial of the century” for the murder of casino mogul Ted Binion, the alleged small weekly newspaper, the Las Vegas Tribune, was the only publication that was not in agreement with the government’s opinion that Binion was murdered, supported by the daily newspaper, and after months of defending the two scapegoat defendants being prosecuted by David Roger and David Wall, many people in Las Vegas started seeing the trial in a different way, thanks to the small weekly publication; that is not what the government wanted and that is exactly what the bigger publications are afraid of — that they can be overshadowed by a small publication that is not obligated to its advertisers.
It is tough, it is hard, it is dangerous to be involved in any way, shape, or form with a small publication; it is tough because the government and big corporations do not give them the same respect that they give the big and alleged larger publication; the government expects the new and small publications not to ask questions and dares them when they ask questions that they do not know how to answer.
Back in 2014, two weekly publications ended their existence — one owned by the Review-Journal, and the other, the only Black newspaper
in Nevada that had been in existence for forty-one years.
The one owned, published, and operated by the bigger, larger, and allegedly most powerful publication in Nevada may have been a business
decision or an executive decision; the other one, the Las Vegas Sentinel-Voice, after forty-one years of existence, was forced to close due to the lack of support by its own community, the Black community, that was not able to support their own newspaper.
We sympathize with Maramis Choufani and congratulate her for the fight that for more than two years she kept going in the neighboring
community of Nye County and congratulate her for her effort and interest in making Nye County a place where there could have been
another voice, one that she was willing to raise as loud as it might need to be, even if that voice is now shut down for whatever reason.
In 2014 the Las Vegas Tribune regretted the closing of those two publications and editorialized on it because even if one was entertainment and the other a community voice for a specific group of the community and did not affect in any way or shape the Las Vegas Tribune, it was the end of those two voices. Today we read about the end of Voices in the Desert and could not help but feel the pain as our own because it’s another voice that is no longer being heard. It is always the community that misses out on the opportunity of having another platform, another venue for sharing their opinions, their points of view, even offering their suggestions and getting to see
issues from another angle.
Sometimes you can’t even freely give people what they need. But you try. That’s what Voices in the Desert was all about.