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Cooke on outsourcing

Cooke on outsourcing

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Published by jsource2007
Toronto Star editor Michael Cooke on outsourcing
Toronto Star editor Michael Cooke on outsourcing

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Published by: jsource2007 on Apr 30, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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From: Cooke, Michael Sent: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 1:50 PM To: RES__EDT Subject: the page desk It was a difficult decision

to choose to outsource final print page production and much of our print design work. There were valid arguments both ways. On balance, we believe this is the best way forward in the face of heavy financial winds that are against us. The union alternative team spent a month putting together some solid and truly imaginative suggestions. However, many proposals and ideas went beyond the scope of print page production, and for this and other reasons, the claim of having exceeded the company's stated cost reductions through outsourcing was not met. Retaining this work, under the alternative proposed or through any option that we explored, would not be in keeping with the three pillars that guided the outsourcing proposal: -- preserving as much of our shrinking newsroom budget as possible for newsgathering and storytelling, and getting the newsroom's costs down to a level we think can support a business -- focusing on finding and producing great content -- improving our digital publishing of that content Many big newspapers around the world with similar history and ambition to us began outsourcing their page production three or four years ago. This is the second time we have proposed outsourcing this work. When we accepted the union's alternative a little more than three years ago, we couldn't have guessed that all cost savings from that and the newspaper's many other initiatives would be gobbled up because of print revenue declines (and anticipated growth in digital revenue just not happening.) We now have a much clearer picture of print revenue slides. The time to take this step is now. And even so, I cannot promise this is the end of cuts, although nothing further is planned at the moment. Preparations to move our print production work to Pagemasters will accelerate. The move will be phased in over the summer. I will provide details soon. Sadly, the layoffs announced in conjunction with the outsourcing will proceed. This, along with staff reduction in editing areas through the voluntary program, means we will have to re-organize how we do the remaining work. Because of job classifications and contractual seniority, some people who do not do print page work will be leaving. Others who do that work will remain, reassigned. We have been planning a general re-organization for some weeks. Many of the ideas beyond print production that were presented by the union team reflect thinking similar to ours. Others are newer ideas. We expect much of that work will help shape what we do as we finalize and implement decisions. That work could not be finalized until after this alternative process was

done, and after the VSP. Some of our colleagues will be losing their jobs over the next several weeks, through no fault of their own, and we are all sick about that. Those of us who get to stay are lucky for it. This move is not done lightly. I don't know the mid-term future of news-publishing and neither does anyone else. Simply put – and to repeat – I regret that job loss is necessary as we preserve our newsgathering and storytelling strength and keep our newsroom financially viable. I ask everyone to look ahead, not backward, and to keep doing the great journalism that makes the Star what it is today. That is our future. Sincerely, Michael

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