Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Beacon No. 30: The Last Word in Outsourcing


Some Voice of America observers are sounding the alarm about a plan to close down VOA operations in Washington each night—and have a second team pick up the slack on the other side of the earth.

According to DC-area media tipsheet DCRTV, here's the plan:

VOA To Outsource Overnight Shift - 4/8 - DCRTV hears that the DC-based Voice Of America is planning to "outsource" its overnight shift to a Hong Kong facility. Currently, the international broadcaster's shift is staffed by a half-dozen news writers, plus an editor. They provide stories for VOA newscasts in English and for Asian language services. We hear that the affected employees, which include salaried employees and freelancers, will be offered jobs on other VOA shifts.....

In correspondence, one former high-ranking VOA official further describes the operational set-up, as well as some potential consequences:

VOA Director David Jackson has announced that every day between midnight until 7 a.m., Washington time, the Voice's new state of the art multimedia newsroom will be closed. The news will be “contracted out” to a team of eight editors and writers (reportedly Americans, British and Australians) in Hong Kong, Peoples Republic of China. Some sources project cost savings at about $300,000 annually, in a VOA budget of approximately $168 million.

How does moving to Hong Kong save money? VOA will wind up paying for a second set of offices, and in one of the world's most expensive cities to boot. Then there's the problem of contracting a critical public-diplomacy task to a team that includes foreign nationals.

The former VOA official continues:

If implemented, the proposed schedule will mark the first time since at least the early 1950s that the VOA headquarters newsroom has gone dark. Today, the news center continues to provide information for hourly newscasts for VOA's 44 language services and its newly consolidated VOA-TV and website operations.

Relocating VOA central news operations in the PRC for nearly a third of each day poses significant risks. In the event of another Tiananmen uprising or a Beijing assault on Taiwan, the Chinese regime could shut down VOA's worldwide news service in a flash, either by cutting communications or by expelling staff. In June 1989, the PRC expelled two VOA Beijing correspondents after the Tiananmen massacre. VOA has an audience estimated at nearly 100 million each week and hundreds of FM and TV affiliates around the world.

This is the crux of the problem: The People's Republic could shut down Voice of America's Hong Kong operations, leaving VOA blind and deaf in the region for one-third of what could be some very critical days—at least until a work-around is found.

If VOA's offices were at the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong, that would be one thing; China would be reluctant to impede VOA operations originating on "U.S. soil."

But a stand-alone VOA operation would be unprotected at a time when the mainland government is slowly tightening the screws on both independent reporting and democratic governance in Hong Kong. It seems like the reported $300,000 savings wouldn't be worth this increased exposure.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Iwebresources: Looking for some IT projects.

Interactive Web Resources is an outsourcing company focused on serving the needs of Small Medium & Large size Businesses in the U.K, Australia, U.S, Europe, Canada & English speaking countries.

Interactive Web Resources as your outsourcing partner help's you to increase your profits, reduce business risk and create breakout value with new services and revenue streams.

IT Out sourcing Is Our Business
We are a Delhi based IT out sourcing company. Providing quality IT related services have been our focus ever since May 2004. From web site designing to web support, we deliver cost effective and reliable systems.There is no doubt that IT out sourcing is a most effective way to stretch your budget.

Whether you need any type of IT related services we have what you need at prices you can afford At Interactive Web Resources, our goal is to provide you with courteous, expedient, professional service of the highest caliber. Browse our Web site for more information about Interactive Web Resources. At Interactive Web Resources, the customer always comes first. We serve you Better.

Our Focus
Our focus is to serve the most professionally managed Overseas companies / Leading IT Companies / MNC's and Any type of company, who demands IT related services of highest standard & wants to avail the same with a difference.

We provide professional services in: -
* Data Entry & Copy Writing
* Web Designing & Web Promotions
* Content Writing
* Graphic Designing
* E-Commerce Solutions
* Web Support
* 24/7 Live Support
* You Name A Service & We Render It.

Email: sharad@iwebresources.com
URL : http://www.iwebresources.com

Site Meter