The parent company of the Los Angeles Times is laying off about 200 IT staffers and outsourcing the work to a company in India. While that is probably bad news for the newsroom staffers who need IT support — and Tribune itself is not exactly revered for its internal systems or tech savvy — Computerworld says the move raises questions about whether papers such as the Times will continue to credibly criticize other firms or agencies that outsource overseas.
The Los Angeles Times, in particular, in columns and editorials, was critical of Southern California Edison's offshore outsourcing of IT jobs. The utility hired India-based vendors, including Tata Consultancy Services, and then cut some 500 IT jobs. [Tribune is also going with Tata.]
"Information technology workers at Southern California Edison have found themselves in the unhappy position of training their own replacements, thanks to a plan by the utility to outsource their jobs to two India-based staffing companies," the Times wrote in an editorial last year; the editorial focused on the use of H-1B visa workers in offshore outsourcing. Along with Tata, Southern California Edison also hired Infosys.
The editorial noted that the H-1B visa "was designed to help American businesses fill specialized positions, not to displace American workers."
For Tribune and McClatchy reporters and editorial writers, the actions of their parent companies to offshore jobs may complicate coverage. Businesses turning to offshore outsourcing may now be able to throw any criticism back in the faces of these publications: "But you are doing it, too."