Thursday, April 17, 2008

The New Out-Sourcing: News Writers

Think that that "creative" job you have is a safe harbor?

Think again.

The Voice of America, working with ever-tightening budgets, is planning a little outsourcing itself — to Communist China — to save some taxpayer dollars.

Ted Iliff, central news division chief, said the plan, announced at a recent staff meeting, is to take about eight news writer jobs — the slots of people who work the graveyard shift from around midnight to the morning — and move those tasks to Hong Kong. (The people will move to other shifts.) These folks handle the late news writing, then send their stories to be translated by VOA language services into Swahili, Spanish and so on.

VOA says the move could save at least $300,000 in salaries and benefits each year, and would relieve people burdened by working those hours — though we hear most of those affected like their hours and enhanced night pay.

The idea is to use contract employees — expatriate English-speakers in Hong Kong, who would be supervised by a senior editor in Washington.

That's alright. Those displaced scribes can always go to Med School and become surgeons.

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