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JULY 2014
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Today, in the dank, forbidding well that is usually the Review-Journal editorial section, there's a sunny-side-up editorial -- or maybe more like a happytorial! -- painting a smiley face on the latest round of layoffs that have ravaged the paper since the installation of new CEO Ed Moss. Outtake:

The Las Vegas Review-Journal today announced a sweeping staff reorganization aimed at improving coverage of several topics, including news, sports, features, politics, opinion, entertainment and betting.

We’ll have more reporters on the street covering things people care most about. We’ll provide more expertise and more hard-hitting content by going in-depth in some areas while adopting a more efficient production process.

In the days and weeks ahead, readers will notice changes in most sections of the Review-Journal, as well as improvements in online content. R-J online will become much more aggressive in coverage of betting, politics and Las Vegas entertainment.

It's one of the more aggressively enthusiastic -- nearly manically recitative -- manifestations of the usual corporate "we'll do more with less" mantra-chanting that typically follows a round of bloodletting. But, gotta say, amid all the blushing bromides, there are some indications of some actual thoughtful rechanneling of resources to something like (dreaded bizspeak cliché incoming) ... a leaner and meaner, reporter-focused operation? Could be. Assuming they're not just making stuff from play-pretend bonkersland, there's this:

Local government: Henderson and North Las Vegas: In addition to community news provided by the View newspapers, each of the suburban cities will receive more coverage from Review-Journal reporters.

Education: The Review-Journal now has two reporters assigned to this important beat.

Courts: Family Court has been rocked by scandal in recent months. Our two full-time court reporters will be joined by a third, who will focus on the most important trials and issues from the courts beat.

Transportation: One reporter will be assigned to a consolidated beat, which will include McCarran International Airport, issues related to taxis, the Regional Transportation Commission and Nevada Department of Transportation. The reporter on this beat also will write the Review-Journal’s popular Road Warrior commuter Q&A column.

And more flexibility with features:

Readers of the print edition will notice the biggest difference on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Going forward, those sections will not be dedicated to food and entertainment exclusively and instead will feature stories of all types.

Some things will remain the same. We plan to keep the Friday Neon magazine and the Monday Health section, and to keep popular columns in familiar places. But the topics covered on other days will be less regimented.

More, more, more! Of course, they don't talk about what'll be missing, which should quickly become apparent in the coming months. It's easy to read this and hop on the "leaner and meaner" flight to kumbayaville. But you have to wonder whether what we're seeing is not an evolution of the R-J, but a specific signal shift in a broader devolution in local media. With all the chatter in this dispatch about a renewed focus on news, in-depth stories and a refreshed commitment to features -- and a vow to make more frequent splashes on the Internet with news in a "blog-style format" (ah, the endearing fogeyisms of the R-J...), it almost sounds like the R-J is becoming ... hmmmm ... well, what the Las Vegas Sun morphed into in 2005 after the rejiggering of the JOA led to its insertion in the R-J -- instantly boosting its circulation, removing the onus of being an info-grind daily, allowing a focus on deep newsgathering, and ushering in an all-too-brief Sun renaissance that led to its 2009 Pulitzer -- that is, not a well-staffed, well-funded newspaper of record, but maybe something slightly less -- and interesting kind of less, but still less. The other part of that devolution is, of course, the looming and increasingly likely scenario that the Sun may just relaunch as a weekly paper. More with less, maybe, but that more is, well, less.

 

 

 



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