Saturday, January 02, 2010

Media General looks at editorial hub

Word from several sources is that Media General may be the latest looking to create an editing hub for its major papers in Richmond, Tampa and Winston-Salem.

My sources say the MG discussions began several months ago and that execs have been getting ready to visit (or may already have started visiting) others who have done the same things.

Such hubs aren't new. Scripps has done it for some of its Florida papers and Media News has done it - and taken lots of flack - for the consolidation of its editorial operations at its Bay Area papers in California. AP did away with most of its national desk in New York and created editorial hubs across the country.

Gannett has started it, too; for instance, the Louisville Courier-Journal has taken over much of the editing of the papers in Greenville, S.C., and Asheville, N.C.

And as News & Tech recently reported, some publishers take it even further, seeing the day when everything but the creation of new content is outsourced.

The folks I've talked to tell me that Winston-Salem seems to be a favored spot for the Media General operation, but all is in flux, including whether to even do it.

Another source reminds that MG has already created a hub in Lynchburg for many of its Virginia papers, as well as those in Reidsville, N.C., and Eden, N.C. Word is, the person says, that the hub will eventually handle all Virginia papers except for Richmond and Bristol.

Update 1/6: Media General's plans are confirmed with resignation of Winston-Salem Managing Editor Ken Otterbourg.

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At 1/4/10, 11:56 AM, Blogger Jason said...

Any evidence of how well these hubs work? Do they uphold proper editing practices, or are the editors at these hubs so overworked that they don't have the time to edit thoroughly?

At 1/4/10, 12:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is this copy editing or line editing (or both)?

At 1/4/10, 12:12 PM, Blogger Doug said...

Copy editing, is my understanding.

As for how well they work, well, UPI tried them a decade or two ago and they sucked. But AP has gone back to the idea and it's tolerable. Scripps has been using it for its Treasure Coast papers for some time, and we know what Media News has done on the West Coast - gutted its papers there. So it seems to be a matter of degree. I suspect these work best when things like national pages and more "generic" workflows are done at the hub, but there needs to be an editor or two back at the originating paper both to guide the hub and spot anything out of whack that a distant hub simply can't know.


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