Institutional memory, the coin of the relm in the newspaper business, is at its lowest level in my memory. Key veteran staff defections--whether or not voluntary, and many have been--have become the rule, rather than the exception and there is no accounting of the numbers of young people who are turning away from the business, or how many good reporters nationally are leaving permanently.
"Community journalism" is becoming the cheap alternative to retaining reporters of the quality of this group that is leaving the paper here.
Here are the four major talent defections:
* Editorial Page Editor Christina Nuckols, who heads a team of two (down from six not so long ago) in the editorial department, will leave. A source tells me she's just worn out and I can fully understand that state. People I knew on the staff of six complained of the heavy workload. She was a reporter at the paper, left to cover state government in Richmond, then returned in 2011. This position will almost certainly be filled, unless there is some notion of Betty Strother holding down the fort alone. She's going to work as a communications advisor for Gov. Terry McAuliffe.
reporter (and a good one) has left to do PR at McGuire Woods law firm in Richmond, one of the state's largest. He joins veteran AP reporter Bob Lewis, who was fired when he wrote that Terry McAuliffe, then running for governor, “lied to a federal official.”
These four landed much better gigs, but there was a time when a newspaper journalist would have considered a job away from this "calling" to be a step down. No longer.