Outsourcing has been become a popular way for newspapers to cut costs for functions such as copy editing, advertising sales and reporting. A recent study, however, revealed that outsourcing can also be damaging to the newspapers who go that route.
The study was conducted by three faculty members from Oklahoma State University’s School of Journalism and Strategic Communications—Stan Ketterer, John McGuire and Ray Murray. The researchers focused on the sports section of The Oklahoman during the 2015-2016, just before and after the outsourcing took place.
The researchers, using the content analysis method, compared the sports contents such as stories and photos from the print and digital version of the newspaper just before and after the outsourcing of printing actually began.
The readers of the newspaper started to complain that they could not find their desired sports stories in the print edition but instead were directed to the newspaper website. The pages of the section were filled with oversized photos, and more of them, as the story count declined. As a result, the study found, the newspaper was flooded with reader complaints, revealed the study.
This is how the newspaper also harmed one of the major assets—reputation—by implementing a news business model. The deteriorating reputation of the newspaper also severely hurt trust relationships between The Oklahoman and its readers.
Ketterer, S., McGuire, J., & Murray, R. (2019). The price of outsourcing: A content analysis of the effects of early deadlines on the sports section in The Oklahoman. Newspaper Research Journal, 40(1), 51–68. https://doi.org/10.1177/0739532919836154