McClatchy To Consolidate Copy Desks?

The Sacramento Bee and the Bee Guild are in discussions over a proposed plan to consolidate the copy desks at the Bee and four other McClatchy-owned California papers, the guild reports.

The plan calls for combining the desks of the five papers at one central location. Existing copy editors, page designers and Internet developers would keep their current pay and benefits, and McClatchy would hire 20-30 new people, some full-time and some part-time.

McClatchy hasn’t even officially decided whether to proceed, but Bee HR director Linda Brooks said an announcement would be made in early January. Bee management, Brooks added, want the desk to be located in Sacramento, but “the Bee’s chances of getting the desk in Sacramento would be influenced by whether it could do it at a cost that would be acceptable to the publishers of the other McClatchy papers in California, which have lower salary scales,” the Guild reported.

If McClatchy goes ahead with the plan, it wouldn’t be the first chain to do so. Cox just announced earlier this quarter that it was outsourcing the copy editing of its four major dailies; Media General did so with three major papers last year, saving $1m annually; Gannett did the same in New Jersey all the way back in 2009. Meanwhile, the debate about how much local and institutional knowledge is lost with moves like these is still ongoing.