Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Bye bye subs - and NPR needs a copy editor

As the outsourcing meme continues ...

Now comes word that London's City AM freesheet has eliminated its sub editors. You can read between the lines, though the owners say it's not a cost-cutting measure but moving "away from a combined editorial and subeditorial model to focus on frontline journalism."

And NPR has an interview today with the CEO of Express KCS, Robert Berkeley, on how he's getting business from U.S. papers. The punch line: "If newspapers don't cut staff, they will lose all their staff."

In a touch of irony, NPR could have used a copy editor on its Web site. It identifies him as CEO of McClatchy.

Here's an earlier interview with Berkeley that has some other details. As journalists --and frankly everyone else in the publishing industry (academic publishers, are you paying attention) -- plop down $625 and find out who your competition is going to be. The company fronting that snippet of interview with Berkeley has a study of the Indian "publishing offshoring" market that says as of 2006 there were 26,000 employees, and it's expected to grow to 74,000 by 2010. I'll bet a copy of that report is in every CEO suite at major U.S. chains.

CJR reports that Express KCS' COO hopes to have 10 to 15 percent of the company's business coming from "editorial" by year's end.

(Of little solace, but if misery loves company, you might also want to check out this report as well on how patent searches, etc., are going offshore. In fact, any labor intensive task that does not require physical presence -- and there are lots of them -- is a target.)

Update: New Zeland also is seeing its share of sub-editing jobs lost as Fairfax centralizes editing. That's prompted a member of Parliament to speak out against it. Jonathan Este, on Crikey, makes a plea to "Save the sub-editor." (Thanks to Pam Robinson for the pointer.)

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