"News One at 9 p.m.," a television news program produced by Greenspun Media Group and KLAS-TV Channel 8 in Las Vegas, pulled the plug on its operations Tuesday and laid off four staff members, according to local media reports.
The folding of the program, which aired on Las Vegas One, Channel 19, follows cancellation last week of another Greenspun Interactive division project, 702.tv, a Las Vegas-based news and entertainment video Web site. Staff members were either laid off or reassigned.
Calls to Greenspun Media for comment were not returned by deadline.
A source familiar with Greenspun Interactive had said about half the department staff was laid off on Oct. 13. Greenspun had also cut staff at its Home News publications this year in an effort to save the interactive division, the source said.
Jeff Gillan, anchor and managing editor for Las Vegas One, said he was "blindsided" by the move.
"This is the economy we're in," Gillan said. "I think the Las Vegas economy, save Michigan, is the worst economy in the nation and you can only go into that headwind so long until something has to give."
Gillan said he was grateful for the partners' support of "News One at 9 p.m." since 2001.
"If there's one thing I can get out there is, there's no hard feelings here," he said.
The one-hour news show won two local Emmy awards for best evening newscast. It featured interviews by political commentator Jon Ralston.
Beyond that, questions are being raised by those in the industry about the present viability of video reporting on newspaper Web sites.
"I think there's a future," Gillan said. "At the end of the day, people still want to watch a thoughtful TV program. I still believe in what we do."
Greenspun Media, owner of the Las Vegas Sun, isn't the first newspaper company to mothball its video newscasts. The Roanoke (Va.) Times produced its final show in October 2007 and the Wilmington (Del.) News Journal no longer produces a daily news show.
"Eventually, people will watch Web videos on their home television sets and mobile devices," Ken Sands wrote on PoynterOnline.
"In theory, newspaper companies should invest now to develop video skills and earn a reputation for quality video journalism. But the equipment, training and staffing are expensive. And while video pre-roll advertising typically commands a high rate, it's difficult to produce enough video to break even. So when the economy tanks and newspaper revenues plummet, video is seen as expendable."