Departing Review-Journal editor: ‘It’s been a privilege’

Las Vegas Review-Journal Editor Mike Hengel penned a farewell to the newsroom Wednesday, the day after he announced his intention to take a buyout amid a turbulent change in the paper’s ownership.

In his memo, Hengel proudly references the paper’s reporting on Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas casino magnate and GOP megadonor who purchased the paper in secrecy earlier this month.

I never imagined I would go out while working one of the great stories of my 40-year career. Yet, it happened. How lucky can an editor get?

Hengel, who has led the Review-Journal since 2010, will be succeeded by an interim replacement selected by newspaper chain GateHouse Media. In the meantime, Adelson’s management will search for a long-term editor.

Earlier today, Hengel told the Los Angeles Times he first realized he’d accepted a buyout offer when he read about it in a front-page editorial written by Adelson’s new managers.

“I figured, I may as well see what the offer was,” Hengel told the Los Angeles Times.

In his memo, Hengel saluted the reporters who unmasked the mystery buyer and subsequently reported on a request from corporate higher-ups to snoop on a lawyer who had jurisdiction in a case involving Adelson:

The aggressiveness you have shown in covering the stories revolving around our new ownership has been inspiring. I am very proud of James, Howard, Jennifer, Eric and Jim for the their great work. I say that knowing that there are many others in this newsroom who would have performed just as admirably had they been asked.

Here’s the full memo:

Subject: It’s been a privilege and a pleasure
To: Newsroom

All:

I may not get around to see all of you, so I’ll hope you’ll accept my thanks through this email. I admire you all and thank you for giving the RJ your very best while I was the editor. I leave here knowing that won’t change. You are professionals.

I feel very lucky that I had the opportunity to work with all of you. And I was fortunate to be involved with a newspaper that breaks stories, not just news. The aggressiveness you have shown in covering the stories revolving around our new ownership has been inspiring. I am very proud of James, Howard, Jennifer, Eric and Jim for the their great work. I say that knowing that there are many others in this newsroom who would have performed just as admirably had they been asked.

I never imagined I would go out while working one of the great stories of my 40-year career. Yet, it happened. How lucky can an editor get?

I have no idea what I will do going forward, but I plan to stay in Las Vegas, so I’ll probably see you around. Until then, thanks again for everything.

Onward,

Mike