If you don’t follow Kirk Lapointe via his RSS feed or on Twitter, you should. Particularly if you are interested in some of the changes and discussions going on behind the scenes in the newspaper business. Your daily newspaper is undergoing major changes and some bright people out there are looking for solutions to aid in an evolution or even revolution to the next phase of dead-tree media.
This article on outsourcing elements of a newspaper may appeal to the “bottom liners” in the corner offices who are looking for strategies to reduce costs to keep up with declining revenues. Keep the journalists and editors in-house and outsource the rest. At first glance my feelings were that they got it backwards. Is a newspaper’s core business publishing (the mechanical process of putting ink on paper and delivering it to subscribers) or journalism? The fundamentals of outsourcing is to move repetitive and mechanical tasks into a mass production environment. And after all, maybe a newspapers core business is journalism.
After reading through related links and articles and the slide-deck from Mindworks Global Media Services it was obvious where the outsourcing of operational tasks come from. As an IT professional and manager for many years I am well acquainted with the O word. Outsourcing bodies doesn’t save money. Outsourcing tasks won’t produce a higher quality product. On the other hand, results based outsourcing has proven to have some success.
The other O word – offshoring – is the final suggestion and ultimate solution in the Mindworks article. After all that’s their business. Task based workers in India performing various repetitive newspaper duties similar to what has been accomplished with IT services and call centres. The corner office might go for this. After all the bottom-line is what’s important. But what about the longer term bottom line? Outsource, yes. Offshore, no.
You’d think by now we’d realize that losing local talent dilutes the value of our local communities. Outsource if you want to, need to, have to. But outsource to the local community. Help develop and grow financial opportunities in the immediate world around you. You know, the folks that subscribe to your paper and buy from your advertisers?
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