Archive for the ‘Outsourcing’ Category

McClatchy tosses to UK firm for ad systems

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

Folks in McClatchy Company advertising departments can look forward to time lost in training sessions as the whole company moves its advertising and accounts receivable system off-shore to a hosted system for managing the booking, billing and placement of all print and digital ads.

The newspaper publisher’s “major managed services contract” is with Atex,  an integrated content management and advertising solutions firm headquartered in Reading, Berkshire, in the United Kingdom.

The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., will be the first of McClatchy’s 30 daily newspapers to use the hosted software in a project to be completed this fall, News & Tech said.

McClatchy staffers will eventually manage all order entry, financial accounting, customer relationship management, ad layout and classified pagination from a single database.

Adoption of the new system is to standardize advertising workflows and establish common processes across newspapers and other publications to reduce operating costs, streamline advertising processes, and enhance revenue potential with targeted print and digital ad packages, the companies say in a news release.

The  McClatchy system will be hosted at an Atex SAS-70 approved data center to lower costs and consolidate IT infrastructure, the release says.

Toronto Star holds onto copy editing

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

The Toronto Star has abandoned a plan to outsource its copy editing, instead going with a new page production desk that will employ about half as many copy editor positions as would have been cut, CBC News reports.

The paper announced the plan in November, then said union concessions could keep it from happening. On Monday, editor Michael Cooke announced a deal with the union and the implementation of a desk with “up to 35” staff members.

The original plan was to cut 70 full-time and eight part-time editorial jobs and another 39 full-time and four part-time pre-press jobs in a bid to save more than $4 million a year.

Copy editing jobs would have been outsourced to a firm called Pagemasters, which does contracted work for the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age in Melbourne and the New Zealand Herald.

The Star is still likely to cut the 43 pre-press jobs, according to the CBC.

“Some 166 employees have accepted voluntary buyouts at the newspaper and the offer has been extended for some [other] areas of the company,” the report says. “Torstar Corp. employs about 7,000 people, while the Star has about 1,300 workers across all its divisions, including its printing plant just north of Toronto.”

Everything, all the time

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

Google has upped the ante for life in the fast lane, delivering “a page where breaking news, Twitter feeds, blog entries and other content automatically refreshes every few seconds,” the San Jose Mercury News says.

Google is not the first to offer real-time search, but it is “trying to go a step further by having the new results appear automatically, without refreshing the page,” says The Wall Street Journal’s report.

Real-time search began to roll out for users Monday and will become fully available to everyone by the end of the day [Tuesday],” the Mercury News says. “Google said the real-time capability … in the next several weeks will also include public status updates from Facebook and MySpace.”

By early 2010, Google plans to enable smart-phones to easily translate speech between languages.

But wait, there’s more …

Google also introduced Living Stories on Tuesday, which bundles newspaper articles about specific topics on a single page. “Complete coverage of an on-going story is gathered together and prioritized on one URL,” the Web site says. “You can now quickly navigate between news articles, opinion pieces and features without long waits for pages to load.”

So far, The New York Times and The Washington Post are the only papers participating. According to the Associated Press, which calls the service an “attempt to help out the ailing newspaper industry,” Google isn’t paying the newspapers to feature the content, and there aren’t any immediate plans to sell advertising alongside the material, said Josh Cohen, a Google product manager overseeing the project.”

Howard Kurtz, at The Post explains: “By grouping the stories … day after day under one Web address, the Times and Post could boost their Google rankings, which would tend to push those pages toward the top of the list when people search for that subject. After the Tuesday launch, the story pages will reside at Google Labs for an experimental period of two to three months, and revert to the papers’ own Web sites if all goes well.

“‘Over the coming months, we’ll refine Living Stories based on your feedback,’ Google says in a blog posting. If the format gains traction, Google plans to offer it to any interested newspaper, magazine or Web site, at no charge.”

In its report, The Times says, “The announcement of the “living stories” project shows Google collaborating with newspapers at a time when some major publishers have characterized the company as a threat.”

“The page you are taken toward is a rich multimedia experience, complete with a timeline outlining key events, a sidebar that breaks down coverage (for Afghanistan, it’s divided between Opinion, Casualties, U.S. Policy and other topics), and an RSS feed-like display of recent articles,” says Ben Parr at Mashable.com.  “It’s clean and simple, but effectively explains key issues.”

Firm defends outsourced copy editing

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

News & Tech, in its December  issue, looks at outsourcing of newspapers’ editorial functions, such as copy editing and design. Last month, the Toronto Star proposed to contract out about 80 copy editors’ jobs.

Toronto’s plan, which N&T says could be abandoned if unions make concessions, would send the work to Pagemasters, which “already produce[s] more than 10,000 editorial pages a month for papers that include the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age in Melbourne and the New Zealand Herald.”

Stewart Muir, managing director of Pagemasters North America, explained the Pagemasters concept to the magazine. Its “‘near-sourcing’ alternative offers publishers benefits, especially as newspapers wrestle to cut costs,” he said.

“‘It has a proven track record,’ he said of the firm’s services, citing in part the New Zealand Herald, which has used Pagemasters for layout and copy editing for two years.

“‘Lots of North American newspapers want that service mentality. And it’s not just the newsroom. The reason they have outsourced ad production and printing and other operations is because they can get the results they need.’

“Muir acknowledges that editorial outsourcing remains a contentious topic, but said Pagemasters does not farm out work to overseas workers who may only earn a third of what a Canadian or U.S. copy editor might make.

“Instead, Muir said Pagemasters opens up production centers in areas close to its clients, and hires trained journalists who are paid equivalent wages and benefits. Cost savings come from Pagemasters policies and procedures designed to optimize how copy flows throughout the day.

“‘Journalist wages in a Pagemasters shop are totally comparable’ to the newspaper, Muir said. ‘It’s about delivering efficiency.

“‘We’re talking about the most precious part of a newspaper endeavor, the creation and editing of editorial material. Nobody is talking about just farming this out.'”