This sentence no verb

eatsshootsleavesLast week we had quite a few readers send us a story that ostensibly had nothing to do with religion. Here's the Associated Press version:

An Indian company will take over copy editing duties for some stories published in The Orange County Register and will handle page layout for a community newspaper at the company that owns the Pulitzer Prize-winning daily, the newspaper confirmed Tuesday.

Orange County Register Communications Inc. will begin a one-month trial with Mindworks Global Media at the end of June, said John Fabris, a deputy editor at the Register. . . .

"This is a small-scale test, which will not touch our local reporting or decision-making. Our own editors will oversee this work," Fabris said in an e-mail to The Associated Press. "In a time of rapid change at newspapers, we are exploring many ways to work efficiently while maintaining quality and improving local coverage."

It turns out that other newspapers have already outsourced copyediting and design work, including The Miami Herald and the Sacramento Bee.

The existence of this blog is a testament to the difficulties the media have in reporting religion. As one reader who sent the story in said:

Can you imagine editors in India dealing with the subtleties of American religious theologies/traditions/history/politics?

It certainly would be challenging.

These small-scale outsourcing tests could grow into full-blown copyediting operations. Is Indian outsourcing the way to improve newspapers' bottom lines?

Gene Weingarten of the Washington Post had a great column that not-so-subtly explained the importance of copyeditors and lamented their departing from newsrooms. Here's how it began:

If you are like I, you are pretty sick of reading articles about how the financially-troubled newspaper industry is making desperation budget cutting moves: Downsizing its products, laying off staff, buying prostitutes for advertisers, and so forth. But believe me, you'd be even sicker of it if you were INSIDE a typical American newsroom these days, where it's sometimes hard to hear over the 200 decibel background drone of human whining.

Well said, Weingarten. Anyway, happy 4th of July to all of our American readers!

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