Sweetheart, get me rewrite… in Bangalore

Roy Greenslade reports that a New Zealand newspaper company, APN News & Media, is outsourcing 70 sub-editing and design jobs. I’ve been wondering for years why Gannett, say, isn’t doing this: at least its national, business, sports, and entertainment page editing can be outsourced. Oh, I know, you’ll say that people elsewhere don’t understand these markets. But the truth is that most editors I know moved into their markets and had to learn them anyway. So why not have a gigantic national copy desk (boy, would that be a fun room) and a huge national design and production desk? For that matter, why not outsource editing to the Associated Press? When I was Sunday editor of the New York Daily News, I tried hard to get Tribune Media to take over every bit of work in producing our TV listings pages, for a starter; this would have freed up headcount to do more productive things (like reporting). I’ve been arguing for sometime that the process of finding efficiencies and reorganizing newsrooms around what really matters is healthy, necessary, and long overdue. It’s about boiling a newspaper down to its essence, its true value. And what is that value? Reporting.