It’s the craze that’s sweeping the nation: centralized pagination. Instead of having people layout their own newspapers, big newspaper companies (including Quebecor and my employer Canwest) and have editors send stories to a pagination factory where specialists put together the pages for you and send them back.
The presentation is usually the same: The specialists are well-trained, local reporters and editors remain in control and have the final say, this will create “efficiencies” and allow journalists more time to focus on their core function – writing copy.
The hidden reality is that these copy editors tend to be non-unionized and have lower salaries, they have little connection to and may not even be familiar with the communities they serve, and the local journalists don’t have the time to correct all of the things a lazy, overworked copy editor hundreds of kilometres away might have done that they don’t agree with.
And, of course, with efficiencies come layoffs.
Transcontinental Media, which has already done this for its community papers in Quebec, is setting up a pagination shop in Charlottetown to handle layout for its Maritime papers. The number of layoffs isn’t known yet, but there will be some.
It could be worse: They could be outsourcing pagination to Bangalore.