Wednesday, June 13

What's next – outsourcing your hairstylist?

Boycot India Graphic Design Services

Being a graphic designer for print and web in the newspaper industry, we were shocked to read this article about outsourcing to India. Ok, outsourcing to India has been around for years but that is not the shock. The shock is that the oursourcing is hitting ad design and layout departments. When you think about it, this company, Express KCS has a brilliant business concept, EXCEPT that it is hitting us where it hurts. Here's a story from our local Guild paper.

Layoffs, buy-outs and loss of beats bleed newsrooms

from: news guild website
Job cuts, bids roil news industry

In a Wall Street version of corporate whiplash, the newspaper industry was buffeted in the past month by still more high-dollar takeover bids —and still more buyouts, layoffs, loss of beats and off-shoring....

The Denver Post, MediaNews’ flagship paper, has extended voluntary buy-out offers to 90 or so newsroom workers—approximately a third of its newsroom staff—and is to accept as many as 37 by early June; a year earlier it cut newsroom staff by a dozen. The Post’s cuts were announced a month after the competing Scripps-owned Rocky Mountain News—with whom it has a joint operating agreement—offered buyout packages to 50 employees, with a final decision on who’s leaving to be announced later this month. When the JOA was created, in 2001, MediaNews head Dean Singleton pledged to increase the Post’s newsroom by 100 new employees.

The Baltimore Sun, still owned by Tribune Co., likewise said in late April that it wants to cut payroll—currently at about 1,250—by 50 employees. The newspaper’s Guild unit has accepted a buyout plan for which approximately 85 of its 489 members qualify, although management reportedly will consider nonqualifying volunteers. The unit had 623 members just four years ago.

And in a move that portends more layoffs at the San Jose Mercury News, also owned by MediaNews, the company said it will begin outsourcing ad production July 1 to Express KCS, a U.S. company with offices in Gurgaon, India. Although the announcement did not state how many U.S. workers will be affected by the shift, Express KCS reportedly will be adding approximately 18 employees to handle the new work.

But the most notable devastation of the past month occurred in Minneapolis, where Star Tribune employees—who less than a month ago honored 24 co-workers who had taken buyouts—were informed May 7 that another 145 jobs would be cut. That was followed by the news that as many as 100 newsroom staffers will be reassigned, with some beats eliminated altogether—including those of outdoor, travel and architecture writers—while others are consolidated or reduced, notably including those of several columnists. The Duluth bureau also will be closed.

The layoff announcement, on a day Guild members quickly dubbed “Black Monday,” will reduce newsroom staffing—currently at around 340—to 290 or so. ..

Ridder’s stewardship, meanwhile, is being viewed with scorn and suspicion. “He comes in here under circumstances that we don’t understand,” Star Tribune columnist Doug Grow complained to Minnesota Monitor. “He’s 38 years old. He has no reputation for building anything. And within a few weeks of his entrance into the door, he’s slashing and burning.

“Trust is something that’s earned,” Grow added. “Leadership is something that’s earned. He’s the publisher; he’s not the leader.”

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