The Oregonian has announced that it will outsource some design and copy desk jobs to New Orleans.
That's where its sister publication, the New Orleans Times-Picayune, hosts a shared copy desk and production staff for five newspapers in the Advance Publications chain.
The move is the latest in a series of shifts at The O as Advance executes a web-first strategy: The paper reduced its print delivery from seven to four days a week, mandated steep web quotas for reporters, and sold its printing press (which will soon become an apartment tower).
For those readers outside the rapidly-shrinking print newspaper industry, the copy desk is where stories go for grammatical rehabilitation and gimlet-eyed fact checking after first being edited for content and structure.
The copy desk is the firewall that prevents reporters from embarrassing themselves and at most publications, is staffed by a team of extraordinarily knowledgeable human encyclopedias. You don't want to play Trivial Pursuit against a copy editor.
Here's the announcement Oregonian publisher Steve Moss sent to staff yesterday:
Oregonian editor Mark Katches did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The move replicates consolidation efforts that other chains such as Gannett and McClatchy have already put into place.
It is unclear how many jobs will be cut in the Oregonian newsroom—it's likely somewhere between five and 10.
People familiar with the changes say some designers and copy editors will remain in Portland and key decisions about what goes on the Oregonian's front page and how and where local stories will be presented in the paper will continue to be made here.