Guest post: When newspapers get a bat cave

Students in my Advanced Editing course are contributors to The Editor’s Desk this semester. They are free to write about whatever they wish, provided that the topic fits the theme for this blog: “thoughts on editing for print and online media.”

This is the ninth of these guest posts. Dominic Ruiz-Esparza is a senior at UNC-Chapel Hill. He says that after four years at the university, he still can’t find anything to beat a sunny afternoon with a good book. His plans include a book on masculine nonsense and a summer in Spain.

In comic books, superheroes occasionally united to fight evil. They came up with snappy names like the Justice League and made a headquarters, which inspired millions of tree forts and table forts and garage forts across the world.

In Texas, four newspapers recently decided to do something similar.

The Caller-Times will now be the regional copy editing and design center for the four guardian-watchdogs. Though the four will pool employees to run the center in Corpus Christi, it’s hard to believe that everyone will keep their jobs through this.

It makes more sense when you learn that the four papers are owned by the same company, Scripps. The Justice League didn’t put anyone out of work, so far as I know, but it would be embarrassing to be the fifth Green Lantern to show up on Monday.

This shows the ruthless beauty of a merger. It’s also an experiment in removing editing and design from the newsroom.

The Chicago Tribune fantasized in January about such a world. What’s at stake is only the credibility that journalism schools tell students is non-negotiable. But in Chicago, double-checking is kind of, maybe, sort of a good idea.

So how important is credibility? Which superheroes do we really need to save Sally and Jimmy? What exactly does the Flash do anyway? And how can we get Superman to update his blog on time?