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OC Register Outsources Copy Editors

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Many a newsperson has bemoaned the shrinking size of the newsroom, but it seems that at least one paper is welcoming new hires:

An Indian company will take over copy editing duties for some stories published in The Orange County Register and will handle page layout for a community newspaper at the company that owns the Pulitzer Prize-winning daily, the newspaper confirmed Tuesday.

On the opposite side of the newspaper management-labor dispute is Gene Weingarten, who wrote a tongue-in-cheek column for last Sunday's Washington Post Magazine, criticizing the Post's decision to buy out some of its copy editors:

Truth to tell, I feel badly for all copy editors whom, I'm afraid, will suddenly find themselves out of a job. Time has past them by, however, efeated the Red Sox 6-5 in extra innings and it doesn't make sense for us to weep for copyeditors anymore than it makes sense for us to lament the replacement of bank tellers with automated ATM machines.

So to all my former copyediting colleagues, I wish them a soft landing. Finally, I'd like to give particular shoutouts to my friends Pat Meyers and Bill O'Brien, two longtime copyeditors for the Washington Post who took the early retirement: We'll miss ya, guys, even if we didn't need you all that muck.

What's happening at papers has been happening in other industries for a long time: As companies streamline processes and embrace new technology, their demand for labor fluctuates; out with the old, in with the tech savy; etc., etc. The recently retired can kick back, consult, or go back to school and get with the program.

As much as I love the idea of tucking a press card in my hat, smelling a newspaper that has just flown off the press, and naming my hemorrhoids, I really hope the Indian copy editors pan out. Hindus are better than no news.

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  1. But how can they possibly adapt to the 1-hour work day of American copy editors?

    I fear we’ve sown the seeds of destruction in the subcontinent.

  2. Ouch. Consider this an interbrick thrown in your direction through the tubes.

  3. Considering the mistakes and tortured prose in that clip from Weingarten, he could use a competent editor.

  4. As much as I love the idea of tucking a press card in my hat, smelling a newspaper that has just flown off the press, and naming my hemorrhoids, I really hope the Indian copy editors pan out.

    Meh. This newspaper thing was a lot more fun before they banned whiskey and cigarettes from the newsroom.

  5. As much as I love the idea of tucking a press card in my hat, smelling a newspaper that has just flown off the press, and naming my hemorrhoids,
    Wah?

  6. Mike — was there actually an old-school journo who named his ‘rhoids? Enquiring minds want to know.

  7. Epi –

    I’m so smart, I can use the word “whom” whenever I want!

  8. Weingarten’s a funny guy. I can almost hear the conversation with his copy editor as he explains why his copy is even more error laden than usual.

    I’m hardly the worst writer in the world — at last count, there were 27 bloggers who are even worse! — but there’s no doubt in my mind that everyone’s writing would improve with decent editing, especially including mine. And given Indian labor rates, I just may see if they take piece-work!

  9. Considering the mistakes and tortured prose in that clip from Weingarten, he could use a competent editor.

    Could that possibly be the point of his “tongue-in-cheek column”?

    But of the jobs your could outsource to employees whose first language is not American English, I think copy editing is likely to suffer particularly from cultural differences between the writers, offshore editors, and California readers.

  10. And yes, I realize that he’s making a statement by making his writing all littered with errors, but some of them would no doubt make it past an editor. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to read crap like that in something that you paid to read.

  11. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to read crap like that in something that you paid to read.

    Fortunately H&R is free, or I’d be a lot more upset at some of the writers here.

  12. Could that possibly be the point of his “tongue-in-cheek column”?

    It is impossible for me to not get a joke (or, heavens forbid, RTFA), so…no.

  13. can’t we outsource management? or the federal government? I really think that could cut costs and bring our taxes down.

  14. It’s been easy to find MSM hacks to shill for anti-American proposals since they weren’t affected. Perhaps this will send a warning signal to those MSM hacks that they’re as expendable as those Americans they’ve helped screw over.

  15. Or, Lonewacko, perhaps the MSM hacks will recognize that any drudgery in their labors that can be outsourced for lower cost means that they can focus on more interesting higher value work for greater compensation.

  16. lonewacko writes:

    Perhaps this will send a warning signal to those MSM hacks that they’re as expendable as those Americans they’ve helped screw over.

    Or perhaps they’ll spend their newfound, post-buyout free time writing top-notch dramas for HBO.

  17. I think copy editing is likely to suffer particularly from cultural differences between the writers

    Not to mention the time difference, the impenetrable accent, and… who’s gonna run through it all again to remove the extra u’s and swap the r’s and e’s…?

  18. I don’t even know anyone who reads a . . . what did you call it Reinmoose? . . . a Newz . . . paper? I get all my world view from Reason, Urkobold, and the Wall Street Journal. Its all you need.

  19. Psst… Naga… WSJ is a newspaper, even if you read it on-line.

    [raspberry]

  20. SugarFree,

    I’ll send you some sugar free redbull if you repudiate that post. Also, raspberry? WTF? Thats just crazy enough to unnerve me.

  21. Mike

    Hindus are better than no news.

    You were really building to that one, weren’t you?

  22. Raspberry, also known as a Bronx Cheer, spelled in Bloom County as “Phft!” (Kids these days…)

    And, I repudiate NOTHING!

  23. I repudiate NOTHING!

    That would make a good T-shirt.

  24. My experience has been that Indians have a firmer grasp of English grammar than Americans. I think you’ll see more of this.

  25. My experience has been that Indians have a firmer grasp of English grammar than Americans. I think you’ll see more of this.

    I do have two reporters I’d like to outsource.

  26. An unintended consequence will be that the prose in outsourced publications will slowly drift from US English to Indian English. Yes, educated Indians tend to speak/write excellent English, but with occasional odd (from my POV) phrasings.

    I believe India has the largest number of English speakers of any country. They could come to define the language.

    I’m making no judgements either way about the desireability of this.

  27. Thanks for the tip SugarFree. Sucker! I’ve already ordered 50000 shirts with your . . . ahem . . . my logo with a picture of Che on them. I’ll make a fortune.

  28. Matthew,

    I think he started there and worked back.

  29. Naga Sadow! NAGA SADOW! ARGH!

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