Monday, August 13, 2007

New Zealand's largest daily outsources editing and layout work

Here in the U.S. newspapers have outsourced maintenance, accounting and billing, human resources, call centers, and recently ad production departments, none of which according to the companies, are part of the core business. But editorial is the sacred core of the business, right?

Apparently not. The current seismic newspaper industry environment has forced companies to implement similar cost-cutting measures in editorial functions.

Media companies in other countries will be watching to see if New Zealand's largest daily, which began outsourcing editorial production work Sunday to a subsidiary of Australian Associated Press, can make it work. (FYI: Murdoch's News, Ltd. owns a 45% share of AAP)

Starting Sunday, 20 full-time sub-editors at contractor Pagemasters New Zealand will be "operating on an extension of APN's 'Cyber' computer editorial production system" at a site 20 minutes from the paper's editorial offices.
The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union that includes New Zealand journalists, said the move will erode the quality of news coverage because stories will be handled by copy editors not familiar with local issues.

Employer business decisions such as these threaten the product and jobs. Having a union gives employees the right to engage the company over outsoucing plans and to offer alternatives that may help the company achieve its goals while perserving journalists' jobs.

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