Thursday, December 11, 2008

Singleton says MN “probably” won’t offshore copy desks

Well, at least not any time soon. During a series of outtakes from interviews for a feature story on the up-for-sale Scripps-owned Rocky Mountain News for Westward, a Denver-based alternative owned by Village Voice Media, MN boss Singleton said:

"We are doing pre-press work in India and have been doing it for more than two years -- and it's worked very well. We've explored outsourcing copy editing and page makeup in India, too, but we probably won't do that. I think we're finding we can consolidate within our newspapers and get the same savings we can offshore. We probably won't put any news operations there -- and we weren't talking about reporting and editing. We were talking about copy editing and page design, and I think we've found we can do it just as well ourselves here.
That's welcome news indeed.

Singleton's October revelation that the company is exploring outsourcing – even offshoring – copy desk and page makeup functions prompted California Guild-covered employees to issue a joint statement in which it pointed out that a "proposal to wipe out copy desks at newspapers across the country threatens not only hundreds of jobs, but also quality and credibility – values the beleaguered newspaper industry needs now more than ever".

If continued consolidation of newsroom functions is necessary to keep our newspapers viable, so be it. We can help make that work. We want our papers — and our jobs — to stay local.


Anonymous said...

It appears only a matter of time before most corporate-owned, mid-level newspapers/magazines begin outsourcing copy editing duties. "Pasadena Now" is one example... Any way to save a buck.

Anonymous said...

" That's welcome news indeed."

Why should we believe anything that comes out of Dean Singleton's mouth? Anything he touches crumble.
We have to stop taking his word like he knows what he is doing, he is an empty suit who saw Citizen Kane to many times and is trying to please the his father's ghost.

He tells you what you want to hear.

Media People
In their own words

William Dean Singleton: 'Newspapers Are The Cornerstones of Convergence'
Newspapering "is no longer a business of just ink on paper," says the vice chairman and CEO of MediaNews Group, who adds: "The promise of media convergence is real, and it will change everything."

From: I Want Media, 11/04/02

William Dean Singleton, vice chairman and CEO of MediaNews Group, delivered the luncheon address at the Associated Press Managing Editors (APME) conference in Baltimore on Oct. 25.

In his speech, which is reproduced here, Singleton says that a focus on local news is the key to the survival of newspapers. ("It's the content, stupid. ... Like your mother telling you to eat your vegetables, it's something we all have to hear repeatedly.") Papers also need to build newsrooms that reflect their increasingly multicultural communities. ("Each market is different. Cookie-cutter solutions won't work.") Also, the slashing of news budgets, he says, has "damaged our franchises, while Wall Street cheered. And cheered. Newsroom cost-cuts have gone far enough -- perhaps too far."

Singleton advises editors to use other media, such as the Web and wireless, to expand their papers' reach. Instant wireless alerts, updates on the Web and the in-depth reporting and perspective provided by print promise to make "a very powerful combination," and it's "ours for the making."

Dean is drunk and high on big business ego and like an alcoholic, he needs to hit rock bottom before he realizes how many people he hurts.

Anonymous said...

Since the bloated "outsourcing" issue is now moot, then it looks like the LAME union needs to finally sign that damn contract! Get on it!

Anonymous said...

What they need to do is clean house !!! in upper management and bring in forward thinking editors who want to cover the City's like they should be covered.
Relevant stories that relate to future readers. Make it interesting and sharp.
Don't just go off of what comes off the fax machine and city council agenda. You need to establish interest and be out and about in you city and Leadership Long Beach is not interesting.

The good stories cannot be found from 14 floor up.

Why does MediaNews have two Port writers?

Anonymous said...

Moody's Says MediaNews Headed to Default -- With Debt Load Nearly as Big as Tribune's

By Mark Fitzgerald

Published: December 11, 2008 4:08 PM ET

NEW YORK Moody's Investors Services predicted Thursday that William Dean Singleton's MediaNews Group Inc. will soon be in at least technical default of its credit agreement -- with a debt load that is nearly as staggering as the leverage that led Tribune Co. to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Moody's said it calculates Denver-based MediaNews Group's leverage ratio as more than 8 times debt to EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization). When Tribune sought bankruptcy refuge earlier this week, it was widely reported it feared violating its credit agreement covenants of 9 times EBITDA.

In its report by Christina Padgett and John Page, Moody's downgraded MediaNews Group's Corporate Family Rating (CFR) to Caa3 from B3. The lower rating suggests a "substantial risk" of default under Moody's definitions.

Moody's rated the Probability of Default for the parent company of The Denver Post and San Jose Mercury News also a Caa3, down from Caa1.

"The Caa3 CFR incorporates MediaNews' heavy debt burden, high leverage (calculated by Moody's to exceed 8 times debt to EBITDA at the end of September 2008), and the weak level of debtholder protection indicated by current newspaper valuation multiples," Moody's said.

The default rating, Moody's said, reflects its "concern that the downturn of the company advertising sales will be significantly more protracted than previously anticipated, further straining the company's liquidity profile and heightening the probability of a covenant default."

Moody's ratings actions affected about $962 million in debt of MediaNews, a company with about $1.2 billion in annual revenues.

More details on the ratings of specific securities are on E&P's business-oriented Fitz & Jen blog.