Future of ‘Nevada Week in Review’ remains cloudy

“Nevada Week in Review” is not dead, but it has been on life support since July. That’s longer than expected when it was announced the Vegas PBS show was taking a “summer hiatus.”

Frankly, I thought 2015 was the year the nearly 34-year-old weekly news discussion show would succumb. Thought I’d be writing its obit.

For more than a year, the show struggled through various guest hosts who displayed their own political views. None matched the neutrality and objectivity that host Mitch Fox demonstrated during his 28 years as host. But in March 2014, Fox left to go to work as spokesman for the city of North Las Vegas.

Replacing the guy who made it look so easy has not been easy.

Guest hosts included Jon Ralston, Steve Sebelius, Elizabeth Thompson, Glenn Cook, Gary Waddell and the last one standing, Patricia Cunningham.

General Manager Tom Axtell assured me he has not pulled the plug on the show. He is even considering expanding the station’s news coverage by possibly starting a nightly news show.

But first, he must find a host.

Axtell said he offered the host position to four people, who all said no. He’s trying to pluck someone from one of the television stations that have been sold, hoping to nab someone whose contract wasn’t renewed. But so far that hasn’t worked.

Still, he’s waiting on contract renewal discussions for three more potential hosts employed in broadcasting.

“We’re actively looking,” he said. If locals don’t work out, he will advertise. “It is my desire to keep it going.”

Axtell said the job can be either part time or full time. “If full time, the person will help develop a potential civic journalism web product and a regular weekly news program with contributions produced by high school students in broadcast journalism programs.”

He wants a host who can be objective on the weekly show, and handle the difficult task of serving as moderator for political debates in this significant political year.

You’d think Ralston, who hosts “Ralston Live” on Vegas PBS, seems a natural, but he expresses his opinions in no uncertain terms in his blog, Ralston Reports. Some candidates refuse to appear on his show and would refuse to appear on debates.

Axtell needs a host who political figures believe will treat them fairly, Axtell said. “I don’t want candidates saying: You’ve got a guy with a pre-existing bias.”

Axtell tried to handle the bias claim last election cycle by having left-leaning Review-Journal columnist and blogger Sebelius and right-leaning consultant Thompson both question candidates.

Sebelius is not available because he’s doing “Politics Now” for KLAS-TV, Channel 8.

Another problem Axtell cited with the rotating guest hosts was that “some hosts could not get quality guests.” He preferred working journalists rather than bloggers, political consultants and PR people.

The show ended on a sad note following a downward spiral. The low point fell when Cunningham was only able to find one guest instead of the regular four. She often asked reporters for their opinions instead of their analysis, a no-no. Columnists can spout off, reporters don’t have that luxury.

Fox made hosting look easy, but said it really wasn’t. “More work went into it than people realized,” he said.” Since it was filmed on Friday nights, if he didn’t have his guests lined up by Wednesday at the latest, people had already made plans.

On air, he became a traffic cop, making sure everyone was brought into the discussion and no one hogged the show. Some tried.

His own bias wasn’t revealed because he was focusing on asking the questions, not spouting his views.

“Nevada Week” seldom mentioned crime stories. On Fox’s watch It was about the Legislature, local government, gaming, business, education and the environment. Serious subjects.

(Disclosure: I was a panelist over many years and was asked about hosting, but declined because of my travel bug in semi-retirement.)

A few people told me they watched “Nevada Week” every week because it was their only source for news, little realizing they were breaking a news woman’s heart. Fortunately, movers and shakers tended to watch faithfully.

The first show aired Oct. 2, 1981, and the first host/producer was Scott Craigie, a teacher at the time who had the political savvy to eventually become former Gov. Bob Miller’s chief of staff.

Other hosts included respected reporters Myram Borders, David Kelley, George Knapp, and a few others whose names are lost to memory.

For a while, Fox and Claudia Collins alternated hosting duties, until she left to work as a professor at UNLV. Collins said the first year, the Review-Journal “would not participate because of fears that reporters might express opinions.”

But later that policy was reversed and the newspaper ended up sponsoring political debates with the public television station.

Las Vegas Review-Journal Publisher Jason Taylor has had discussions with Axtell. “I have not committed to anything, but historically I have seen great mutual benefits partnering with the local PBS affiliates,” Taylor said.

Axtell said he is observing KPBS in San Diego, which produces a successful nightly television show, to see if Las Vegas audiences would be interested in a nightly news program.

If there’s no need for such a show, he won’t pursue it. “There has to be a demand,” he said.

But he knows there’s interest in reviving “Nevada Week.”

Axtell just can’t find the right person. Yet.

— Jane Ann Morrison’s column runs Thursdays. Leave messages for her at 702-383-0275 or email jmorrison@reviewjournal.com. Find her on Twitter: @janeannmorrisonn

ad-high_impact_4
News
Tate Elementary shows academic progress after categorical funding
Students at Tate Elementary in Las Vegas has benefited from a program to boost education funding in targeted student populations, known as categorical funding. One program called Zoom helps students who have fallen below grade level in reading. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Three Square helps TSA workers
Three Square Food Bank donated over 400 care bags to TSA workers affected by the government shutdown Wednesday, filled with food, personal hygiene products and water.
Las Vegas furniture store donates to Clark County firehouses
Walker Furniture donated new mattresses to all 30 Clark County firehouses in the Las Vegas Valley, starting today with Station 22. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mount Charleston Gets Heavy Snow, Fog
Mount Charleston saw heavy snow today, and fog in lower elevations as a cold front swept across the Las Vegas Valley. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Krystal Whipple arrested in Arizona
Krystal Whipple, charged in the killing of a Las Vegas nail salon manager over a $35 manicure, is expected to return to Nevada to face a murder charge.
Holocaust survivor on acceptance
Holocaust survivor Celina Karp Biniaz, who was the youngest person on Schindler’s List, talks about the most important message for people to understand from her life and experiences.
Holocaust survivor speaks about telling her story
Holocaust survivor Celina Karp Biniaz, who was the youngest person on Schindler’s List, tells of opening up about her experiences during Sunday’s event at Temple Sinai.
Jesus Jara State of the Schools address
Clark County School District Superintendent Jesus Jara delivers his State of the Schools address on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Michael Naft sworn in to Clark County Commission
Michael Naft, chosen by Gov. Steve Sisolak to be his replacement on the Clark County Commission, was sworn into office on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES Opening Party in Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace
CES conventioneers packed Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace, and let loose as they danced to DJs into the night. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas police piecing together details of fatal shooting
Six hours after the fact, Las Vegas homicide detectives worked to reconstruct the scene of a shooting early Jan. 7 that left one man dead in the southeast valley. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dyer Lawrence explains college football playoff system proposal
Las Vegan Dyer Lawrence has a new idea for a college football playoff system that includes a unique scheduling component called National Call Out Day. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Death row inmate Scott Dozier found dead in his cell
Nevada death row inmate Scott Dozier is dead. Dozier’s death ends his legal odyssey, which began in 2007 when he was convicted in the 2002 murder of Jeremiah Miller, but does little to clarify what’s next for Nevada’s death penalty.
I-15 southbound near Primm closed after ‘major crash’
A rollover crash Saturday morning involving at least nine vehicles on southbound Interstate 15 near Primm caused an hourslong traffic delay. Traffic was backed up to Sloan, live traffic cameras show. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Death Valley visitors deal with shutdown
Visitors staying at the Furnace Creek Campground were forced to move from the campground following health and safety concerns due to lack of resources during the partial government shutdown at Death Valley National Park in Calif., on Friday, Jan. 4, 2019. Richard Brian Las Vegas Review-Journal @vegasphotograph
Half of homicides in Henderson for 2018 domestic violence related
Lt. Kirk Moore of the public information office of the city of Henderson police department speaks to the Review-Journal in Henderson, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019. Henderson saw a slight increase in homicides in the past year. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Governor-elect Steve Sisolak stops by Las Vegas Boys and Girls Club
Governor-elect Steve Sisolak kicks off his tour to Carson City, which will take him from Las Vegas, through Tonopah, and up to the capital city. First stop is the Downtown Boys & Girls Club.
Certificates for renewing wedding vows in Clark County
The Marriage License Bureau in Clark County began issuing a Certificate of Vow Renewal to married couples who are renewing their wedding vows on Jan. 3, 2019. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas flu season better than last year (so far)
Dr. Fermin Leguen, chief medical officer and director of clinical services at the Southern Nevada Health District, said there were 24 flu-related deaths at this point in the flu season. No deaths have been reported so far this year. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
The Las Vegas Valley’s First Baby of 2019
The first 2019 baby in the Las Vegas Valley was Melialani Chihiro Manning, born at 12:10 a.m. at Henderson Hospital. (Briana Erickson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas NYE Fireworks - VIDEO
The full show: A spectacular view from the rooftop of the Trump International Hotel as 80,000 pyrotechnics illuminated the Las Vegas Strip at the stroke of midnight. Fireworks by Grucci choreographed launches from the Stratosphere, the Venetian, Treasure Island, Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood, Aria and MGM Grand.
Snow in Henderson on New Year's Eve morning
Light snow flurries in Anthem Highlands in Henderson on Monday morning, the last day of 2018.
Sources: Henderson Constable may face more charges
Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell may face additional charges ... stemming from his spending of county funds, sources said. Mitchell was indicted earlier this month on five felony theft and fraud charges ... after a Las Vegas Review-Journal story questioned his spending. But grand jury records show even more extensive spending including ... an $800 dinner at steakhouse ... nearly 200 atm withdrawals mostly at gambling establishments ... and even Disneyland tickets. But his attorney plans to ask a judge to dismiss the charges.
Las Vegas NYE Restrictions and Enhanced Security
If you are planning to celebrate New Year's Eve on the Las Vegas Strip or Fremont Street, be aware that you are not allowed to bring backpacks, coolers, strollers or glass. There will also be an increase in security to ensure safe celebrations across town.
Catholic Charities serves up 53rd annual Christmas dinner
Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada and more than 100 volunteers served 1,000 Christmas meals to Southern Nevada's homeless and less fortunate. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @kmcannonphoto)
Henderson couple adds another school to their generosity
Bob and Sandy Ellis of Henderson, who donate to several Clark County School District schools, have added Matt Kelly Elementary in Las Vegas to their list of schools where every student gets new shoes, socks and a toy. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jeffrey Martin Added To Nevada's Black Book
Martin was one of four men convicted of theft and cheating at gambling in 2016 in Clark County District Court and sentenced to prison. The Nevada Gaming Commission voted unanimously Thursday to include Martin in the black book.
Raiders Stadium Timelapse
Construction on the new Raiders stadium continues in Las Vegas.
Buffalo Wild Wings security video
Security footage from a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in southwest Las Vegas captured a driver who repeatedly crashed into a vehicle in a failed attempt to squeeze into a tight parking spot.
The Magical Forest at Opportunity Village
Opportunity Village's Magical Forest added 1 million lights and a synchronized music show visible from all over the forest this year. The holiday attraction, which began in 1991, has a train, rides, food and entertainment along with the light displays. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like