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By Chris Blackhurst, Press Gazette

This may come across as a cliché but it’s true: I became a journalist because I watched a film about a couple of journalists bringing down the most powerful man in the world without firing a gun.

I refer of course to All the President’s Men, the movie and the book had me hooked. It wasn’t, though, just the sight of Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford working in tandem or seeing how the real-life Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward pieced together the jigsaw that would topple President Richard Nixon. It was their interaction and the way they would discuss, plan, collaborate, with their colleagues, young and old.

Their working environment seemed to be imbued with a team spirit, a chemistry, a bonding that was magnetic. Years later, I was not disappointed: the newsrooms of the Sunday Times, Daily Express, Sunday Express, Independent, Independent on Sunday, Observer, Evening Standard – all places where I hung my metaphorical trilby and grubby raincoat, leaned back in the chair, put worn soles up on the table and lobbed paper balls into a wastebasket – were the same as theirs. And they were brilliant.

So to read that Reach, owners of the Mirror, Express, Star and more than 100 regional titles, is planning on closing most of its newsrooms so that staff will in future work remotely from home or over a laptop in a coffee bar, and venture into the office only for occasional meetings, is genuinely upsetting news.

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