Look who else is outsourcing to India: American newspapers

November 4, 2009

While American journalists love to criticize corporate America for outsourcing, look who else is also outsourcing to India: American print newspapers. And they are outsourcing work overseas for the same reason that much of corporate America is outsourcing – both to survive and because it makes sense from both a cost and a quality standpoint.

As with any other industry, offshore outsourcing by American newspapers usually begins in a non-core area – such as advertising production or website related work. This is exactly what the Sacramento Bee and the Miami Herald (both owned by the McClatchy Co.) did back in 2007 and 2008. In the case of the Miami Herald, copyediting and design for the weekly section of the Broward County community news along with other special advertising sections were outsourced to New Delhi based Mindworks – a leading provider of editorial support services whose website states that they now have more than 100 editors, designers and consultants plus clients in six countries.

Then in mid 2008, the Pulitzer prize winning Orange County Register announced that Mindworks would take over copy editing duties for some stories and handle page layout for a community newspaper at the company. This was after the newspaper began to struggle due to circulation declines (their circulation had dropped to fifth place in California from third place) and had undergone three rounds of layoffs with the most recent round in the previous April costing 90 employees their jobs.

And not long after the Orange County Register announced its new outsourcing agreement, the Hindustan Times reported on the trend mentioning that Mindworks had upped its staff from 35 to 100 over the past year while competitor Express KCS had grown from 20 to 400 employees over the past year and a half. Moreover, they also noted that many of Express KCS’s employees are single and are between the ages of 22 and 30 while the average age at Mindworks is 30 and employees there have an average of 15 years of work experience with English language newspapers and magazines. And while their ages may be younger than many of the workers they are replacing in the USA, there is no discernible difference in the quality of the work they produce.

news Paper Outsource

In fact, the New York Times noted back in June that The New Haven Advocate and its sister publications in Hartford and Fairfield County, all considered to be alternative weeklies, had an entire issue where all of the work was outsourced to Indian journalists who were recruited via Craigslist ads in Bangalore and Mumbai. The idea wasn’t to save money (they were paid the normal freelance rates that contributors to the paper receive) but to see just what kind of journalism would result. Hence, the Indian journalists reported on topics of interest in New Haven such as music, the arts and the latest movies and although there may have been a few clunky sentences where things might have gotten lost in translation, the overall results were pretty good in the words of the New York Times’ writer.

Thus and if quality in general does not suffer, will this trend continue with journalism jobs at more mainstream publications moving offshore as well? As the Hindustan Times noted, outsourcing copy editing work certainly makes financial sense when you consider that a copy editor at a medium-sized American newspaper earns between $30,000 to $60,000 per year while a copy editor with Express KCS will earn only $4,800 to $14,480 per year. However and as the New York Times’ writer noted, using a journalist in India to write about music and the movies is one thing but using one to report on municipal corruption is another thing entirely. Nevertheless and with more American print newspapers folding as a result of falling advertising revenue as more readers turn to online editions or to alternative online media sources, outsourcing most of the remaining journalism related jobs may be the only way to save what is left of the American newspaper industry.


Comments

3 Responses to “Look who else is outsourcing to India: American newspapers”

  1. June Harris on August 17th, 2010 3:06 am

    Interesting to know that Americans Newspapers are also outsourcing, and for obvious reasons.
    I have been closely associated with the outsourcing industry for quiet sometime now. I am surprised/impressed with the range of services that are being outsourced: from secretarial services (data entry, DTP, media optimization, internet search, Excel tasks, PowerPoint presentations, content writing, etc.) to research services (business research, market research, healthcare research, legal research, investment research, etc.), to accounting & bookkeeping services, legal services, procurement services, and much more. All this, besides the major – IT Outsourcing.

  2. anne williams on September 2nd, 2010 2:09 am

    Interested to be in business with you.

    Sir,

    We are dealing with call centers – BPO’S and KPO’S (knowledge process outsource) that are in business with US, UK and AUSTRALIAN market. I am looking for companies in the above countries that are willing to outsource their work to India. I know of good companies in India, which are flourishing in these campaigns. Hoping that you will deal with us and send us your valuable information, to enable us to be of service to you, do send us your process details and the nature of your work.

  3. admin on September 6th, 2010 4:17 pm

    Anne,
    This site do not deal with any outsourcing projects directly. If you want you can promote your business by publishing your company white papers or writing blogs.

    Thanks
    Admin

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