In the classic screwball movie, "His Girl Friday" or in the more serious versions, "The Front Page," the media was very competitive, willing to break laws to get a scoop over the competition.
These days, the media is joining forces, even as they compete.
Two-newspaper markets often had joint operating agreements (JOAs) that shared back-office expenses.
That mindset is now shifting to local broadcast news. In Boston, the news organizations of WBZ-TV (CBS) and WFXT-TV (Fox) are now pooling resources, including helicopter and news footage. Such sharing of resources already takes place in Philadelphia, Dallas, and Chicago.
Already, WHDH-TV (NBC) and WBZ-TV produce news programs at 10pm for CW & Ch. 38, respectively, using the same news teams, news studio and talent.
The reason: news programs can be expensive to produce, and throughout TV's history, have been produced as a public service, and to appeal to FCC and legislators. Profits were secondary.
Stations can't afford public service without profits.
For more, check out this Boston Globe article, "TV stations share the air in bid to weather economy."
Just don't expect stations to stop sharing resources when the recovery occurs. Because advertising is unlikely to return to pre-recession levels.