Posted on May 31, 2008
Didn’t the Las Vegas Sun have enough talent?
Interesting — Rob Curley has moved on, again. Back in February 2002, I invited Rob to our university for a symposium about “converged journalism.” He was then the director of new media for The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal. His lively presentation about digital innovations at CJOnline.com captivated the audience, and I heard a lot of complimentary remarks about it afterward.
Later that year, Rob moved across the state to The Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, where he became general manager of World Online (and later, director of new media/convergence) and directed LJWorld.com (which still has one of the nicest news fronts anywhere).
Many people were surprised in 2005 when Rob left Kansas (his home state) for Florida and the small potatoes of the Naples and Bonita Daily News, sister newspapers in the Scripps group. However, for those who knew that John Fish, the new publisher at Naples, had been Rob’s publisher and friend in Topeka, the move seemed less mystifying. (Fish’s move to Naples was announced in October 2004; he left in July 2007 and pursued a consulting deal with CMS vendor Saxotech.)
A rumor at the time when Rob moved to Florida said he had gutted the online staff of the Lawrence newspaper, taking them with him to Naples. I asked him about the rumor; if my memory is accurate, he told me that several Lawrence interns followed him to Naples, but no regular staffers. (Fact-check that before you quote me.)
After attracting a lot of attention for Naples with, among other things, a daily video webcast called Studio 55, Rob moved again — to The Washington Post in 2006. His new title was vice president of product development, and he received kudos for his role in WaPo projects including LoudounExtra.com and onBeing.
The Las Vegas Sun is the most exciting newspaper site right now — Rob wrote a love letter about it in his blog in January. After the Sun hired Dave Toplikar (a friend of Rob’s from Lawrence), I wondered whether Rob might move to Nevada. But I thought it unlikely (even after the love letter) — my guess was he might be lured back to Kansas, but Las Vegas? Seriously?
Well, that shows you why I’m not a gambler.
The thing that puzzles me is not why Rob would want to join the incredible dream team assembled in Las Vegas but rather why the Sun needs Rob — and the nine (nine!) people he’s taking with him from the Post. Call me envious, but they already had a bunch of great people doing great work … and how can they afford to add 10 online savants? Is there a lost Nevada gold mine funding the Sun, or what?