Posts Tagged 'India'

Globalization Hits Journalism: OC Register to Outsource Editing

OUTSOURCING TO INDIA ISN’T just for the tech support or medical transcription industries anymore. Southern California’s Orange County Register has said it plans to outsource some of its copyediting and layout duties to the South Asian country — causing a stir in the already struggling journalism biz (via FP Passport):

Orange County Register Communications Inc. will begin a one-month trial with Mindworks Global Media at the end of June, said John Fabris, a deputy editor at the Register.

Mindworks’ Web site says the company is based outside New Delhi and provides “high-quality editorial and design services to global media firms … using top-end journalistic and design talent in India.”

Editors at Mindworks will work five shifts a week for one month, performing layout for the community paper and editing some stories in the flagship Register, Fabris said. Staffing at the company will not be affected, he said.

If the trial period turns out to be a success (however that may be gauged) it’s hard to believe that staff cuts won’t come in the tailwind — if not at the Register, then at the next paper that chooses to employ overseas editors.

Beyond job concerns, there is the question of how people living thousands of miles away can begin to edit content for which they have no context, for a community in which they have no vested interest. I’m sure the OC paper can expect spectacularly clean text on a technical level. But what it loses may be in the finer details.

This Week’s Wandering News

  • Starting out on the lighter side, People magazine made a terrific racial blunder last week when it featured South Korean pop star Rain and then accompanied the piece with a photo of actor Karl Yune — who also happens to be Asian. Oops. (via Lao-Ocean)
  • Allison Arieff asks why school buildings tend to resemble drab, prison-like institutions on the New York Times By Design blog, and talks about Waldkindergartens: forward-thinking schools in Germany that have replaced the classroom with the forest.
  • Bombings in the ancient Indian city of Jaipur left 63 dead on Tuesday, and caused the local government to enforce a curfew. The Guardian reports that a little-known terrorist group called the Indian Mujahideen claimed responsibility, and apparently had the goal of disrupting the local tourism industry.
  • Mark Massara, a pioneer of surfer environmentalism and a defender of California’s coastline, speaks with the New York Times in this watch-worthy video piece, “Planet Us: The Coastal Warrior“.
  • The SF Chronicle reports that protesters donning black hoods and Guantanamo-style jumpsuits turned out at the graduation ceremony of UC-Bekeley’s law school Saturday, demanding that tenured professor John Yoo be fired. Yoo was the chief author of the Bush administration’s nebulous policies on torture

From Green to Black: The Environmental Movement Lost in Translation

calcutta traffic jam. photo by yumievriwan.

THE LOOMING THREAT OF GLOBAL warming and the ever-climbing cost of gas have made options like cycling to work, using mass transit and car sharing trendy in the United States. Green is our new mantra, however far removed our true habits may be from our ideals. But on the other side of the globe, entire populations of consumers that have long gone without are now snatching up cheap automobiles, and you can bet they won’t be slapping “carbon offset” bumper stickers on the back.

As car ownership increases in nations like South Korea, China and India, manufacturers are looking to churn out vehicles at even lower price points; today the BBC reported that Renault-Nissan has announced a joint venture with Indian firm Bajaj to create the world’s cheapest car, at an estimated $2,500.

And while the West and even internal environmentalists shake their heads at the possibility of millions of new drivers throwing tons of CO2 up in the air, the sentiment held in the Eastern hemisphere is perhaps best reflected by China’s “you first” stance — and these nations have a point. Many Americans still drive tank-like SUVs every day, and the US is the only developed nation that has not yet ratified the Kyoto Protocol. Indeed, what pedestal do we have to stand on?

But here’s the problem: with more drivers and more roads, these booming Asian nations are unwittingly fostering an auto-culture from which it will take ages to untangle. Right now they’re feasting on the fruits that developed capitalism can afford — the luxuries that Americans have enjoyed for decades. It’s understandable that Western criticism of these trends now would draw resentment and cries of hypocrisy.

The crucial point that must be conveyed, though, is that owning a car does not constitute the good life. Yes, we’ve been driving cars for decades, and the American road trip is indeed a sweet thing. But the majority of drivers are not freewheeling travelers blasting down I-90; we shuttle to and from suburban homes in frustrated bursts. Look at the faces of drivers inching along the snarled roadways in and out of Chicago, LA, Seattle, etc. Driving is convenient only when we have no better option. If American big business and city planners had had more foresight, we’d be riding on trolleys and trains (and probably wouldn’t have an obesity epidemic).

The mayors of Asia’s biggest cities should be regarding the difficulties the US is encountering as it attempts to move away from car culture as a lesson, a cautionary tale, instead of blithely allowing cars to choke their thoroughfares. Because once you go down this road, it’s a long way coming back.


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