An Associated Press story run by the American journal Editor and Publisher reports that The Orange County Register in California will now be sending some of its copy editing and layout work to a company outside New Delhi, India. It is a month-long trial agreement with the company to see how it goes.
According to the story, the move is an attempt to make the paper more efficient and help hold onto sinking circ.
Orange County Register Communications has struggled in recent months with circulation declines. The Register recently dropped from the third-largest newspaper in California to the fifth-largest...The company has been through three rounds of layoffs in the past year, most recently in April when up to 90 employees lost their jobs. Employees were also offered a voluntary severance program in 2006.
Editors at the paper said this change will not affect staffing at the paper.
The news starkly contrasts with a release the previous week from the Canadian Newspaper Association of data the association said "show the revenue picture for Canada's daily newspapers remained stable through 2007, with robust growth in online ad sales offsetting a mild decline in print advertising. This is in sharp contrast to the U.S., where a contracting economy helped drive print ad revenues to the biggest year over year fall in more than half a century."
The CNA press release said 2007 revenues for Canadian newspapers, including online operations, were marginally lower (-0.8%) dipping to $3.576 billion, but a decline in print advertising of 2.4 per cent was offset by a 29 per cent growth in online revenues. It said, "this picture contrasts markedly with the performance of the U.S.newspaper industry, where total print advertising revenues in 2007 fell 9.4 per cent to $42 billion, according to the Newspaper Association of America (NAA), the biggest year-over-year decline since 1950, when the NAA first began charting the numbers.
Added the release: "The narrative about newspapers in the U.S. has been consistently negative in recent years, and that negativity has unduly influenced perceptions of the health of the newspaper industry in Canada," said Anne Kothawala, President and CEO of the Canadian Newspaper Association. "Advertisers and their agencies, many of whom are global businesses, should ensure that their Canadian buying decisions are not tainted by the US data....The real story is how well we are holding our own in an age of global media disruption."
Perhaps TorStar -- which reports say is eliminating its Internet production team -- didn't get the CNA message. A Canadian Press story noted that while most of the job cuts through severage packages, were already expected, "the Internet layoffs came as a surprise, said Maureen Dawson, an official with the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada. "Their message to the world is that they're all dedicated to the Internet, but then they lay off the whole department," she told The Canadian Press shortly after meeting with Torstar respresentatives."
But where are the people who read/watch the news, and use it to help make decisions? When threats were perceived to California newspapers in recent years, in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, politicians, businesspeople and even some ordinary citizens protested -- including with a small demonstration in the streets. Are Canadians completely apathetic? Are perhaps they ignorant, because they subscribe only to CanWest news for all their information? CanWest is apparently not reporting at all on these issues -- at least as is suggested by the fact recent searches of the CanWest database, for stories about the cutbacks, the formal complaint to the CRTC and the union grievance, failed to get any results. If you're in CanWest, or know of CanWest reports about these issues, speak up, won't you?
From Vancouver radio station CKNW, one of the few commercial radio broadcasters with a newsroom any more:
The Union representing newspaper employees at the Vancouver Sun and Province has filed a grievance following a planned restructuring.
Mike Bocking with the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union adds they are speaking with lawyers to figure out what to do next.
Last week, the Pacific Newspaper Group, which owns the two papers, offered buyout packages to its newsroom employees. Up to 30 employees could be lost. It's also shifting jobs related to electronic layout back east.
A spokesperson for Pacific Newspaper says the changes will free up resources for the papers' online and breaking news content.
Bocking says the moves could cost the papers their local voice.
Here's a Canadian Press story that puts the issue in context -- including the 200 job losses at CanWest TV operations across Canada. Excerpt:
Tensions are running high in CanWest newsrooms from Montreal to Vancouver in the wake of recent layoffs at the company's television stations and fears that more cuts are ahead amid an apparent push to centralize editorial operations.
"Everybody in the newsroom has received a letter with the buyout offer," said an editor at the Vancouver Sun who didn't want to be identified.
"And in the case of the Calgary Herald and Edmonton Journal - those are non-unionized newsrooms so the company can do whatever it wants to do in a non-union situation. People are very fearful not just about layoffs but for the industry; deskers are quite depressed about the future of newspapers in general."
The CP story quotes a CanWest executive defending the cuts as a means to bolster local coverage and simply defer some pagination duties to CanWest Editorial Services in Hamilton, as well as critics who say CanWest is making a dramatic attempt to prove to their debt-holders that it can afford to buy Alliance Atlantis and its array of successful specialty channels.
Is it relevant to note that CanWest recently dumped the Canadian Press news service, to provide its own news?
Here's the last Townhall post on CanWest, including context and criticism.
News & Views
Advice & Resources
- Resource Centre
- General Tools
- Tools for Ensuring Accuracy
- Tools for Interviewing
- Tools for Locating Sources
- Tools for Specific Beats
- Tools for Web Research
- Tools for Writing
- Jobs and Internships
- Events Calendar
- Ask a Mentor
Education & Research
Rights & Wrongs
- Alternative Media
- The Business of Journalism
- Computer-assisted Reporting
- Covering Violence & Trauma
- Freedom of Expression
- Health and Medical Journalism
- Investigative Journalism
- Science Journalism
- The Future of News
- Visual Journalism
- Agricultural Journalism
- Back To School
- Children & Media
- Citizen Journalism
- Feature Writing
- Financial Journalism
- Journalism Online
- Managing Journalists
- Newsroom Diversity
Peter Worthington would have known that there is a venerable tradition of journalists writing...5 days 7 hours ago
I like this. It's very important to see the closeness of public relations and journalism....5 days 11 hours ago
Do journalists really need to take a course to learn that practitioners of PR are working for...5 days 14 hours ago