Publisher’s Note: Enter a new year

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By Tom McDonald

For six years, managing editor David Giuliani occupied this spot on this particular day. But now, dedicated readers of the Optic know, he’s gone. Off to a newspaper in Illinois, where I’m confident he’ll do well.

Giuliani was the consummate journalist. During his time at the Optic, he reported on the good, bad and ugly of our community without hesitation. I’m convinced that this newspaper and our community is better because of his work and dedication.

I hired Giuliani about two months after I arrived at this job myself, hoping against hope that he would be the right fit for the job, and for Las Vegas. And while some would argue otherwise, I believe he was exactly what this town, and this newspaper, needed.

Of course, there are some who don’t agree that his commitment to open government, good government, and the public’s right to know was beneficial to this community. But I don’t intend for the Optic to back away from such principals. We’re still going to be an independent, assertive, outspoken newspaper, even though our friend Davey has moved on.

So now I’m in the hunt for a new manager of our day-to-day news operation. I’m hoping and looking for another great fit. Of course, he or she won’t be Giuliani, but that’s OK, because in all my years in the newspaper industry, I’ve seen a lot of good and dedicated journalists. Giuliani was one, but he wasn’t the only one. In fact, we still have some excellent journalists right here in our newsroom, continuing the good work that you’ve come to expect from the Optic.

So, soon enough, you’ll see a new face in this newspaper, introducing himself/herself to you, the reader. And when you do, you’ll know that the Optic has rounded yet another turn in its illustrious history and will continue to cover this feisty little town. And we’ll do so with passion and principles, just as Giuliani did.

• • •

Last week I took a few minutes to do a little counting. After copying and pasting a year’s worth of quotes for our year-end edition, I decided to tally up the letters to the editor we ran in 2010.

What I found is that, in 155 issues, we ran 353 letters. That’s impressive for a newspaper this size.

I’ve mentioned this before: Less than 10 years ago I was running the editorial department at a daily newspaper with four times the circulation that the Optic has. But I didn’t receive half as many letters to the editor as I do here.

Three hundred fifty-three letters. It’s great to have such an engaged audience. Here in Las Vegas, people are paying attention.

• • •

Starting this Friday, we’re going to include a great new feature to our pages that I think you’ll find both educational and enjoyable. Jesus Lopez, widely known for his politics and, more and more often, for his knowledge of Las Vegas history, will offer up his insights into our rich and incredible local history via a weekly history column.

Lopez is already on KFUN/KLVF on Monday mornings (and as a Sunday evening rerun) talking conversationally about our local heritage. I think his column will complement that program in a way in which we all will benefit (even though station owner Joseph Baca has already given me a hard time about stealing his idea; something I can’t honestly deny).

Las Vegas is teeming in history and intrigue. And who better than Mama Lucy’s son, Jesus Lopez, to tell it in such a way as to instill pride in who we are and how we came to be that way?

It starts in this Friday’s Optic. Don’t miss it.

Tom McDonald is the Optic editor and publisher. He may be reached at 505-425-6796, extension 237, or tmcdonald@lasvegasoptic.com.