AP reporter retires

Riley, left, with son Dylan, also a journalist

Riley, left, with son Dylan, also a journalist

One of the most experienced reporters in Nevada journalism is calling it quits.

Associated Press capitol bureau chief Brendan Riley is accepting a buyout and will finish up his Nevada duties this month. The AP’s Carson coverage will thereafter lack 37 years of institutional memory of Nevada government and politics that Riley will carry away in his head.

An announcement of the change on the AP’s in-house wire read, “Nevada had fewer than 600,000 residents when Riley rolled into Nevada, and he has reported its progress as it grew to 3 million current residents. Nevada once was the nation’s only gambling state, and now only Utah and Hawaii don’t gamble. The state’s general fund budget for the 71-72 biennium was $217 million. Today it’s $6.8 billion. Riley has seen changes around the state and the industry. He went from punching perforated tape and filing stories at 66 words a minute to the online world.”

Cy Ryan is Riley’s longest-tenured capitol competitor. In the days when there were two wire services, Ryan was the bureau chief for United Press International against Riley’s AP. Ryan now covers the same beat for the Las Vegas Sun.

“He was a great competitor,” Ryan said of Riley. “He was known for getting his facts right. The AP will miss him.”

Before coming to Nevada in 1972, Riley reported for various media entities in California, including covering Gov. Ronald Reagan.

Riley’s mild manner and good humor conceals a persistence about getting answers to his questions. On one occasion when he was covering mysterious doings surrounding the legislators’ pension fund, Clark County Sen. Floyd Lamb physically attacked him, slapping and kicking the reporter. (Lamb later did a term in prison for non-violent crimes.)

Riley is close-mouthed about his post-AP plans.

“I won’t be working for politicians or governments,” he said.