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.


Tsvangirai and the Guardian get signals crossed


The strident op-ed attributed to Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in yesterday's Guardian made headlines around the world (and led yesterday's Morning Brief) with its unusually strong call for international intervention to oust Robert Mugabe. Today, however, the Guardian has removed the piece from the Internet and published a letter from Tsvangirai disavowing its arguments:

An article that appeared in my name, published in the Guardian (Why I am not running, June 25), did not reflect my position or opinions regarding solutions to the Zimbabwean crisis. Although the Guardian was given assurances from credible sources that I had approved the article this was not the case.

By way of clarification I would like to state the following: I am not advocating military intervention in Zimbabwe by the UN or any other organisation. The MDC is committed to finding an African solution to the crisis in Zimbabwe and appreciates the work of the [Southern African Development Community] in this regard.

There's been no explanation from the Guardian as to how the original op-ed was obtained or who actually wrote it. The NYT's Mike Nizza has more on the strange retraction.

For more on the international community's response to Mugabe, check out what former deputy secretary of defense Paul Wolfowitz has to say in a new exclusive interview with FP. Wolfowitz, who has had a bit of experience with military intervention, favors a softer approach for Zimbabwe.