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US magazine outsources work to India

July 22, 2004 16:57 IST

US technology and business magazine Business 2.0 outsourced a section of its latest issue to Indian editors, a USA Today report said.

The August issue of Business 2.0 on the global economy will hit the newsstands on July 26.

Since the magazine's editors thought of the idea (of outsourcing) a bit late and deadlines loomed, they decided to go with a proven editor in India who put together a freelance staff. The section came out just fine and ended up costing about half as much as it normally would, USA Today report said.

The magazine is owned by media conglomerate Time Warner Inc.

"We could have found people who were willing to do it for substantially less" than the $2 a word the magazine normally pays, "on the order of 25 cents a word," Josh Quittner, editor, Business 2.0, said.

So is outsourcing the wave of the future in magazines? No, said Quittner, 47. "I kind of feel about this the way I feel about the Web in journalism: In my lifetime, outsourcing is not going to threaten my profession. But someday, technology will be sufficiently advanced so that it might."

Quittner said outsourcing is not a threat to people in highly collaborative, creative businesses such as his.

"If we put out a magazine that was more straight-out analysis and less narrative reporting, I think you could absolutely outsource," he said. "But when you add to that the element of locale -- the more face-to-face you are with the subject, the better your story -- it really becomes something that is not offshoreable.

"Add the limitations of the phone system, language barriers and time barriers, and you really throw in a number of insurmountable degrees of difficulty," he added.