MediaNews CEO Singleton: Consolidating Newsrooms, Outsourcing Could Equal Survival

MediaNews Group CEO Dean Singleton told the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association Monday that his company is exploring outsourcing almost across the board, including the possibility of a single news desk for the company that could be offshore. But, according to the AP, he said no decisions have been made yet about moving editorial functions overseas although most of the pre-production for the California papers is done in India. That move cut costs by 65 percent.
He said local editors would maintain control and no page would go to press sans local approval. Singleton, who is also chairman of the AP board, also “talked about outsourcing delivery of newspapers, relying more intensely on syndicates for non-local news, and moving circulation call centers offshore.” (Singleton recently defended the value of syndication and the new AP pricing plans in an interview with our David Kaplan.) He told the publishers: “Fond memories of dead newspapers will do nothing for our communities.”
The story trots out the usual suspects —, which laid off its local correspondents in favor of people in India reporting city council meetings via webcast and Thomson Reuters (NASDAQ: TRIN) with its Bangalore operation. And, of course, Bernard Lunzer, president of The Newspaper Guild-CWA, who told AP: “It may in the short run save costs. In the long run, what does it do to the quality of the product?”