Copy editing, page design jobs to be outsourced at Toronto Star

Globe and Mail

Canada's largest newspaper, the Toronto Star, is the latest to reduce costs by laying off copy editors and outsourcing their work for a fraction of the expense.

The Star will outsource page design and copy editing to Pagemasters North America, Globe and Mail media reporter Steve Ladurantaye reports. The cost savings come from efficient centralized production, but also lower pay for editors. "The top union rate for an editor at Pagemasters is $48,000," Ladurantaye reports, "while the same job at the Star comes with an annual salary closer to $85,000."

Pagemasters North America is owned by The Canadian Press news wire, of which the Star's parent company Torstar Corp. is a co-owner. News & Tech reported in 2009 that the Star was in discussions to begin a small amount of outsourcing to Pagemasters North America, but did not. Other major Canadian newspapers including The Globe and Mail, do the same. And other branches of Pagemasters serve newspapers in the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

Overall, the Star is cutting 55 jobs, more than half of which are in the newsroom. In a memo to staff, Toronto Star Editor Michael Cooke expresses empathy as a former production editor: "Out-sourcing print production is especially difficult. I spent much of my career on the desk, putting out the newspaper, so I know how creative and important that work can be."

The aggressive cost cutting comes as the Star and other major Canadian newspapers move to implement paywalls this year.

Earlier: Copy editors "have been sacrificed more than any other newsroom category" | The Denver Post eliminated copy editors last year

Related: How reporters can become better self editors | Wine review is "a copy editor's nightmare" (Dallas Morning News)

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    Jeff Sonderman

    Jeff Sonderman is the deputy director of the American Press Institute, helping to lead its use of research, tools, events, and strategic insights to advance and sustain journalism.


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