Monday, August 09, 2004 Reuters to Shift Editorial Jobs to India This is of course, not a bad thing. One might say that the world outsources a lot of jobs to the US for the many years during which most Microsoft employees were stationed here (as they still are). One would expect this to equalize at some point. I heard a radio host talking about this the other day, pointing out that only (an estimated) 2 percent of US jobs had been outsourced overseas being only a small part of the job loss accompanying the recent recession. The radio host then added something like: "If you have a job that involves you sitting at a desk all day, then watch out, your job is subject to off-shoring, otherwise you have nothing to worry about." That got me to thinking how much truth there was to that, and how much of that truth was still not realized. The first thing that came to mind was of course, talk show hosts, or broadcasting in general. That could be done from anywhere in the world. Even if you had a particular on-air talent stationed in the US, the entire operation of the station could be taking place around the world. Newspapers came to mind too, but not just international operations such as Reuters. Many local papers consist of little other than re-hash of articles from Reuters, the New York Times or Washington Post. And what of THOSE venerable institutions? I've noticed parts of the Post getting rather spotty over the years. The Sunday magazine section that I always used to look forward to is thinner than ever these days. Where do you go to find original content? You can't substitute for having a reporter on the scene. But in the future will that reporter work for the Old Grey lady, a local TV station or an Internet based service? Will it be more effective to transmit the story from that local reporter via a van-mounted satelite dish, a laptop hooked into a Starbucks Internet connection, or even a wireless internet connection provided by the local telephone company? Does it matter where that story goes for editing? India, if there are people there that speak better English than those of us in the US? Ah, we need printed copies though don't we? Well, yes, but I'd rather have some local printer, no not one that I own, something in a drug store, grocery store, or gas station where I could go and get a freshly printed copy of the headlines. But not headlines for the day, headlines for NOW. Put in a quarter, get the news summary. Another quarter might get an entire section. As is the case now, the quarter doesn't pay for much, advertising does. Unlike the current situation though, you don't get landfills full of newspaper that has never been read at all. Furthermore you have options like asking for LAST Sundays paper which you may have been too busy to read. Applying Internet technologies doesn't (or shouldn't) mean that we have to sit in front of PCs all day long. Internet technologies can apply to radio, medical activities, car repair and just about everything else that doesn't require two hands and a physical presence. Plumbers, painters and lawn maintenance people are are still safe. Nothing bad about this either as long as we are prepared to lead in this technology rather than just follow. Will we be?

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