Outsourcing the News: Not the Best Idea

Rebecca Carroll

A CNBC story reported today that in an effort to stand out amid the ever-struggling newspaper business, the Orange County Register will outsource some page layout and copyediting duties to India. Can I say that I think this is probably the most ungodly, exceptionally bad idea ever? Although it's reported that the outsourcing will start on a trial basis, why even do that? How does this make sense? How does this help? I have to be honest, I've never really understood the whole outsourcing business -- apart from it's crude and shameless reality: let's get other people to do it for cheaper.

Journalism, hobbling along as it is on its one good (or somewhat good) remaining foot, is about work, good old fashioned get-your-hands-dirty work -- asking the questions, going the distance, following leads, cultivating authentic relationships and ideas. And of all things to outsource, copyediting? Have you ever spent 45 minutes on the phone with a Dell representative in India? At least outsource restaurant reviews or culture pages or art news -- something that might make sense to ask someone from India to contribute to a regional paper out of Orange County. Something that might actually make a regional paper stand out.

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