Toronto Star wants to outsource 78 editing jobs

The Toronto Star, Canada’s national largest newspaper, has signed a deal with page-layout outsourcing firm Pagemasters and has informed its union that it plans to outsource 78 copy editing and layout jobs to this company, which form part of 121 job cuts it plans to save millions of dollars a year.

I’ve written before about the larger issue of the outsourcing of copy editing jobs. Saying I’m against it would be transparently self-serving, but I’d like to think there’s some magic in the designing of pages, writing of headlines and editing of copy that will be missed when the job is handed over to a third party that is interested more in volume than quality.

On the other hand, I’m pessimistic that readers will care enough about how their paper is produced to speak with their wallets and tip the economic balance in favour of those workers.

UPDATE: Torstar says it has “no choice” – which of course is not true. It also says it hopes to keep the same level of quality, which is obviously not feasible.

7 thoughts on “Toronto Star wants to outsource 78 editing jobs

  1. Clement Côté

    Just curious: How could readers actually speak with their wallets?

    If they stop buying the paper, wouldn’t that just make things worst?
    Unless you’re suggesting the price of the paper be raised, but I always thought that barely covered the printing costs.

    Thanks for clarifying.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      If the decision is to keep the jobs or lose half the readership, that would be financial incentive for the owners to keep the jobs.

      That, however, is dependent on two unlikely things: half the readership threatening to cancel their subscriptions, and the owners realizing that it’s cheaper to keep them.

      Reply
      1. Fassero

        Why so hard on yourself? The Star often thinks it’s Canada’s “national” newspaper. You know? Biggest newspaper. Centre of the Universe. Pretty much the official newspaper wing of the Liberal Party of Canada (and Ontario.) It’s got a die-hard audience that won’t give it up for any reason.

        Note that it’s parent company is a partner in CTV Globemedia. I guess they need to cover the losses they’re taking on that sinkhole….

        Reply
        1. Fagstein Post author

          I don’t think the Star actually thinks of itself as a national newspaper. If it did, it would distribute outside the GTA and wouldn’t call itself “Toronto”. It was literally a case of me thinking something and writing something else.

          Reply

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