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When Dinosaurs Try Mating.

As if the news the GateHouse planned to merge with Gannett was not sobering enough, sure there would be more journalism job losses affecting the size of local reporting staffs — especially those covering aspects of their communities that make them unique. The old rule used to be one reporter/editor per thousand circulation. I operated under that stricture for years — when print newspapers were profitable .

This was before mega-mergers, and afternoon newspapers still lived, precariously.

Only in times of recession — and in the late Carter years and early Reagan years they occurred, usually tied to oil embargoes, caps on natural gas prices — did I have to choose to fill a vacancy for the reporter covering Virginia ports and the nation’s largest shipyard, or one covering the military on northside Hampton Roads, or leaving a spot open on the three-person general assignment team usually assigned special projects or investigations.

How many of those kinds of reporters are still around ?

Copy editing , photography, and graphic design — having already been outsourced, combined, so cuts there — so-called low-hanging fruit — are long gone. An interesting corollary to that is the demise of local print newspapers and the rise of political polarization. [Thanks to Cindy Elmore at East Carolina University — for this]

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