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California newspaper outsources copy-editing, layout to India

If you're a struggling American newspaper trying to maintain quality and improve local coverage, what's one possible solution?

Outsource to India, says the deputy editor of the Orange County Register, California's fifth-largest newspaper. On a one-month trial basis, Mindworks Global Media, an India-based company, will copy-edit some of the Register's stories and lay out pages for a community newspaper at the same company that owns the Register.

This isn't the first time an American news outlet has outsourced to India. Last year, Passport blogged about a Pasadena, California, news Web site that hired Indian journalists to cover meetings of the Pasadena City Council, which are broadcast over the Internet.

There are bound to be some hiccups and gaffes along the way, but it could work better than expected. Mindworks says on its Web site that its workers are "trained thoroughly to become familiar with the client publication and the region," and some employees are bound to have been educated at American universities. And perhaps articles about India and other countries will include more nuance and context.

For American editors and reporters, increased outsourcing is understandably scary. But what if it's key to fundamentally reinventing newspapers, whose U.S. circulation and advertising revenue have been plummeting? Those of us who work in journalism will have to up our game and make ourselves relevant. It's creative destruction at work.

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