Outsourced Credibility? A quasi-experimental study of corrections at newspapers pre- and post-outsourcing of copy editing

Justin Martin, Ralph J. Martins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study tests the assumption that outsourcing copy editing harms accuracy. Authors content analyzed all corrected errors in five newspapers in a full year both before and after outsourcing of all copy editing (N = 3255), while controlling for newspapers’ circulation during the two-year period. Literature on media credibility informs the analyses. Five daily newspapers in the United States and Canada have outsourced all copy editing either to parent-company editing centers in other states or cities (Hartford Courant, CT; Raleigh News & Observer, NC; Winston-Salem Journal, NC; Daily Press, Newport News, VA) or a commercial firm external to the newspaper company but based in the same city (Toronto Star). Results are mixed but do not generally support the suppositions of some industry observers that outsourcing copy editing uniformly harms accuracy. The Daily Press experienced a significant increase in accuracy, that is, a fall in average daily corrections. Average corrections did rise significantly at the News & Observer, but were unchanged at the other newspapers. In terms of specific corrections, mathematical errors at the newspapers decreased after outsourcing, while visual and layout errors rose.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalJournalism Studies
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 18 May 2016
Externally publishedYes

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Outsourcing
outsourcing
credibility
newspaper
news
Industry
Stars
layout
parents
Canada
firm
industry

Keywords

  • consolidated
  • copy editing
  • corrections
  • credibility
  • newspapers
  • outsourcing
  •  accuracy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication

Cite this

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