Remote control subbing

Roy Greenslade sees the outsourcing of subbing, rightly I feel, as “probably just a stage on the road to a world without newsprint at all.” Writing last Friday he linked decisions of Tony O’Reilly’s New Zealand and Irish operations to outsource subbing and design work.

He speculates that, “if these two experiments at each end of the globe come off, then the subs at The Independent may well wonder if their jobs are safe for much longer.”

In the United States, Jeff Jarvis has picked up on Greenslade’s report and is wholly approving. He writes: “I’ve been wondering for years why Gannett, say, isn’t doing this: at least its national, business, sports, and entertainment page editing can be outsourced.”

He points to efforts he made at the New York Daily News Sunday edition get Tribune Media to take over production of the TV listings page. That sort of highly controlled outsourcing is entirely sensible: look at the Guardian Guide and you will see all listing information goes directly to PA.

It may well be more editorial outsourcing is appropriate in the US where many papers have for a very long time shovelled AP copy into their pages virtually untouched.

In the UK’s more competitive newspaper market my instinct is that the differentiation of brands is more important in every part of a newspaper in both its print and online editions.

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