Friday, March 13, 2009

Bad Idea Scrapped: Chicago Sun-Times Will Not Outsource Copy Desk

Management at the Chicago Sun-Times came to their senses and decided not to outsource its copy-desk operations to Canada or India. The move was considered as an effort to cut labor costs by cutting 30 jobs. In reality, it would have provided a daily dose of embarrassment for the paper as readers struggled through mangled copy.

Phil Rosenthal of the Chicago Tribune writes this morning:
If you see the colour, er, color returning to the faces of newsroom staffers at the Chicago Sun-Times, it's because one of their worst nightmares won't be realised, um, realized.

The need to dramatically cut costs to stem losses remains. A plan to outsource copy editing and page designing to Canada or India does not.

Union officials representing Sun-Times editorial employees said management informed them Thursday that the paper is scrapping the radical January proposal to eliminate up to 30 jobs.

The Newspaper Guild was braced for a fight. But, in the interim, a shareholder-led overhaul upended parent Sun-Times Media Group's board and a succession of other changes, including John Barron replacing Cyrus Freidheim as Sun-Times publisher and Don Hayner succeeding Michael Cooke as editor.

"We understand the financial difficulties, but this was a big problem for us, said Thomas Thibeault, executive director of the Chicago Newspaper Guild. "You weren't looking at alternatives to try to save money, you were just putting people out on the street and giving their jobs to people outside our country, and that's pretty bad.

"Their leadership took a fresh look. They get a 10 on my scorecard today. I think that shows good faith. That doesn't mean the problems are over. That doesn't mean the Sun-Times is rich today. That doesn't mean that the guild won't have to fight another battle tomorrow. But what it does mean is the Sun-Times took a fresh look at it, and the only denominator that's really changed is the leadership."

A spokeswoman for Sun-Times Media did not respond to a request for comment.

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