McClatchy Outsourcing 250 Call Center Jobs

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By: Joe Strupp About 250 McClatchy Co. call center jobs will be outsourced to a company that may transfer a portion of them to the Philippines, according to McClatchy officials.

Henry Haitz, president and publisher of The State in Columbia, S.C., confirmed that a McClatchy subscriber service center in Columbia, and another in Miami, would close in the coming months. That would affect 114 jobs in the Columbia locations, with about 136 in Miami.

"In our industry and some other industries, we are not in the call center business," Haitz said. "The technology those companies are able to use we can?t do."

McClatchy made the decision to outsource the jobs earlier this month, planning to contract with APAC Customer Services of Deerfield., Ill. APAC, which has operations in the United States and the Philippines, also provides subscriber services for some New York Times regional newspapers.

?We chose APAC for its quality service in handling customers? calls and for its extensive experience in the newspaper industry,? Frank Whittaker, a McClatchy Vice President of Operations, said in a statement. ?Our customers will benefit from their expertise."

Neither McClatchy nor APAC has indicated how many of the jobs, if any, would be transferred overseas. APAC Senior Vice President George Hepburn said, however, that "we expect them to take advantage of significant savings by going offshore."

In a release on APAC's Web site, James McClenahan, APAC?s Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing, said McClatchy was an ideal partner. ?We are proud that McClatchy has chosen APAC to manage one of its most important assets ? its subscribers,? said McClenahan. ?Our partnership is further testimony to the reputation for high-quality customer service that APAC has established in the publishing arena.?

McClatchy does not have a definite timetable for the transfer of operations and is hoping to place some affected employees in other jobs and provide severance package options for some others, officials said. Haitz did not say how much savings the outsourcing would provide.

"It is unfortunate when we can't have the jobs here, but it will help us focus on our own core, which is public service journalism," Haitz said.

The outsourcing effort comes more than a year after McClatchy purchased The State as part of its acquisition of Knight Ridder, a move that has sparked some financial difficulties.

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