Monday, November 13, 2006

Outsource ops

In but one example of things to come in the effort to rationalize the newspaper industry, two publishers plan to outsource the production of advertising copy to companies in India.

One of them, the Columbus Dispatch, will eliminate 90 positions by next spring.

Beyond ad make-up, Express KCS, the company that soon will be building ads for the MediaNews Group in Northern California, offers such additional pre-press services as digital picture processing and Quark page layout.

Pre-press isn't the only area ripe for contracting to lower-cost providers.

Several publishers already outsource the phone banks that handle circulation complaints and classified ads. Most such operations are domestic, but the next step could be to send those calls abroad.

Reuters has more than 1,000 journalists feeding the wire from India, while Thomson Financial has software that writes certain types of basic news stories in three-tenths of a second.

Although this idea has yet to be implemented, at least one major chain had considered consolidating copyediting at a small number of regional centers far removed from the actual markets they serve.

Thus, you would have to hope that a copy editor in South Carolina, Ho Chi Minh City or Bengalooru knew the difference between Ninth Street and Ninth Avenue in San Francisco, that State and La Salle Streets are parallel in Chicago and that the Bronx is up and the Battery’s down.