Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dateline: Mumbai

[Media Survival] Dean Singleton, CEO of MediaNews Group and publisher of The Salt Lake Tribune is advocating American newspapers start outsourcing certain newsroom tasks overseas. He told a professional newspaper association this week many of his chain's California publications have already saved oodles of cash by outsourcing certain jobs such as copy editing to India.

Singleton, who has spent much of this decade buying up newspapers was already overleveraged--and that was before Wall Street went into the crapper.

Unions at MediaNews Group papers--most of them in California, where the notion of collective bargaining still exists, if barely--are of course none too happy with their boss.

Friends at the Tribune tell me each day brings more uncertainty about their future. They keep their heads down and do their jobs. They are doing all that is asked of them--blogging more, updating more stories all day, working longer hours for less pay. The thanks they get is likely to be a job shipped to Bangalore.

I'm sure comments on this post will simply tell me and others in my profession to suck it up--we're all vulnerable in this country to outsourcing and that newpapers are lumbering dinosaurs that should have faced that reality long ago.

Maybe. All I can hope is that in the depression bound to come our way soon, publishers will hang on to a few American jobs and put people to work ala the old Works Progress Administration model. Maybe a few Trib staffers could be kept on the payroll to push brooms around The Gateway editorial offices?

For more depressing news on editorial outsourcing, go here. (Holly Mullen)

1 comment:

  1. The wisdom of "outsourcing" depends on your point of view. If your job might be outsourced to India, you won't be happy. But if you're the one who pays the bills, and your costs are rising as revenues stagnate, you just might have to consider it -- if only to keep the ship afloat and protect the remaining jobs.

    But as a customer, I don't like it. Call an internet service for assistance, for example, and chances are pretty good someone with a heavy foreign accent will come on the line. Soon, I hope, these businesses will realize they aren't helping their customers by using foreign help. And let's hope newspaper owners understand that. If news articles read like they were written/edited by someone who hasn't mastered the English language, readers will tire of it and turn exclusively to TV and radio.


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