One of the coolest things about building a website for the Las Vegas Sun is that the Sun’s print edition is unlike any other newspaper in the country.
(I’ve gone into some detail about the uniqueness of the Sun’s print edition in this blog post, if you want more specifics.)
Each morning, typically, an eight-page Las Vegas Sun with no ads lands on driveways throughout this very sparkly part of the Mojave Desert.
Because of that limited amount of space in the print edition, think for a second about what’s not in our newspaper. Let me answer that for you — lots of the things that nearly every other newspaper has. And that means that as we were building lasvegassun.com, we got to ask ourselves “what do we really need?”
That led us to build a local news site based upon things what would grow traffic and serve the community the way the web does, not necessarily how a print edition or a print-based news organization would because of its legacy content.
In print, the Sun doesn’t have a daily calendar. Online, we do.
In print, the Sun doesn’t a have sports section (though, it does have one of my favorite local sports columnists on the planet). Online, we have a *huge* sports section, Las Vegas style: high school, college, boxing, UFC, rodeo, NASCAR and golf. And if you consider poker a sport, and we certainly do, we have a section for the World Series of Poker.
I could go on and on. And usually do. But my brain hurts tonight, so let me get to the main point of this post.
One of the things that is absent in the print edition of the Las Vegas Sun is a metro columnist.
And after about a year on the job, we began to wonder if it was a hole we should try to fill.
One of the things that Brian Greenspun asks us all of the time is to try things like we were starting all over in 2009, not waking up in 1969 and doing what’s always been done. Which is a good thing because I wasn’t even born in 1969.
That meant when we decided that lasvegassun.com needed a metro columnist, we asked ourselves “What if we were to completely dream up this position right now? What would we have this person do?”
Meet John Katsilometes.
Here’s a little history on John. He had worked as a sports writer for 14 years in California and Las Vegas when he was hired at the Sun 11 years ago to be a features writer and editor. In 2005 he became the around-town columnist for two years, then moved to Greenspun Media Group as the companyâ€™s writer-at-large, serving the Las Vegas Weekly entertainment magazine and Las Vegas Life magazine and contributing online pieces for GMGâ€™s new interactive operation. He was briefly the editor of Las Vegas Life, a monthly city magazine, then moved to our team early last year.
John’s versatility in a town as diverse at Las Vegas makes him perfectly suited for this gig. He can write a serious story on local politics in the afternoon, then blog live from the Motley Crue concert that evening. And regardless of the topic, it’s obvious this guy knows his stuff.
In many ways, John is our team’s insider. I can’t imagine planning for New Year’s on the Strip, trying to do a profile on Donny and Marie, or making coverage plans for the next big event in Vegas without getting John involved.
John blogs nearly every day on lasvegassun.com. Sometimes twice a day.
He tweets throughout the day. Even when he hasn’t had Mexican food.
He records a weekly interview show that runs on our site and on a local NPR station.
He frequently comments on stories and blogs throughout our site.
And here’s where it gets really good (at least as far as I am concerned) …
Lots of what John writes for the online version of the Sun often gets tweaked/edited/repurposed for our company’s print products.
He has a weekly column or story in the Las Vegas Weekly print edition:
He has a weekly, front-page column that runs in our company’s weekly community newspapers:
When Las Vegas entertainer Danny Gans died earlier this month, the front-page story in the Las Vegas Sun was by Johnny Kats:
And here’s really the best part — Johnny K (as the kids around the office like to call him) is easily one of the most-read writers on lasvegassun.com. We’ve seen the guy be in our site’s Top 10 so often that we just take it as one of life’s few certainties.
I’m not sure if John Katsilometes is the columnist of the future, a workaholic, or the life of the party, but whatever he is, we love it at the Las Vegas Sun and Greenspun Interactive.
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