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Outsourced Journalism

LA Times: Local news reporting outsourced to India. James Macpherson, editor and publisher of the Pasadena Now website, hired two reporters last weekend to cover the Pasadena City Council. One lives in Mumbai and will be paid $12,000 a year. The other will work in Bangalore for $7,200.The council broadcasts its meetings on the Web. From nearly 9,000 miles away, the outsourced journalists plan to watch, then write their stories while their boss sleeps — India is 12.5 hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time.

“A lot of the routine stuff we do can be done by really talented people in another time zone at much lower wages,” said Macpherson, 51, who used to run a clothing business with manufacturing help from Vietnam and India.

For the money he’s paying, he could hire local bloggers. They’d do it better, with more perspectives — and have the advantage of, uh, being there.

13 Comments on “Outsourced Journalism”

  1. #1 AUTOGENO.US » outsourcing “journalism”
    on May 11th, 2007 at 1:59 pm

    [...] commentary can be found on the Center for Citizen Media web site. Permalink    View blog [...]

  2. #2 Uh, wait a minute Mr. Gillmore « Eye Level Pasadena
    on May 11th, 2007 at 5:04 pm

    [...] 11th, 2007 · No Comments Dan Gillmore on James Macpherson’s hiring of journalists from India:  “For the money he’s paying, [...]

  3. #3 Jill
    on May 11th, 2007 at 5:17 pm

    No thanks! :) I don’t want to. I like Macpherson’s idea, and I’m interested in seeing how it works. I would never want to replace our local reporters with journalists in another country, but Macpherson isn’t replacing reporters — he’s adding reporters he didn’t have before.

  4. #4 Seth Finkelstein
    on May 11th, 2007 at 9:11 pm

    We may be having our legs pulled, given that $12K is a lot for something which could probably be bought for much less money even in the US.

    But I “like” the reply that bloggers are even cheaper than outsourcing to India! :-) Let’s hear it for unpaid freelancing, err, “citizen journalism”.

  5. #5 Journalistisches Outsourcing | trice.de
    on May 12th, 2007 at 5:23 am

    [...] aber wohl wahr: Dan Gillmor schreibt, dass eine Nachrichten-Website in Pasadena die Berichterstattung über die [...]

  6. #6 Pasadena Now - following the discussion online « Eye Level Pasadena
    on May 12th, 2007 at 6:53 am

    [...] to cut costs West Coast Grrly Blather*: Pasadena Weekly Dan Gillmor, Center for Citizen Media Blog: Outsourced Journalism The Doc Searls Weblog: Virtual is free. Being there costs ya. The Curious Capitalist: The Indian [...]

  7. #7 Dan Gillmor
    on May 12th, 2007 at 9:21 am

    Freelancers are always cheaper than staff reporters. I prefer freelancers who know something about the place they’re covering.

  8. #8 Jon Garfunkel
    on May 12th, 2007 at 12:00 pm

    Hmm. There’s two pieces of news here. And both were reported by Jill, a blogger in Pasadena.

    One is that Jill doesn’t feel that she as a blogger can do the city hall beat– and she reports that “Centinel” of the Foothill Cities blog wouldn’t do it either.

    Two, Jill took pictures of James MacPherson at the Pasadena blogger’s picnic last weekend! I’m awfully curious whether this subject was broached among the friendly blogger banter. (“Hey Jim, what’s new with Pasadena Now?” “Oh, nothing….”)

  9. #9 Outsourcing' no jornalismo « Jornalismo e Comunicação
    on May 12th, 2007 at 3:36 pm

    [...] em grande medida o que vai mal na prática do jornalismo dos nossos dias”. Comentário de Dan Gillmor: “For the money he’s paying, he could hire local bloggers. They’d do it better, with more [...]

  10. #10 Jill
    on May 12th, 2007 at 8:24 pm

    I’m interested more in community building through blogging than in being a journalist. Blogs are tools that can be used in many different ways.

  11. #11 Jill
    on May 12th, 2007 at 8:34 pm

    I invited everyone I could find that had a frequently updated blog-like website. Many of us knew each other somewhat already — some of us knew each other only online and some of us had met before. I did not know that James planned to hire writers from India before I read about it on Topix, which linked to the AP story. The picnic was more about eating deviled eggs and cupcakes and petting dogs and getting to know each other as people. I would not expect anyone to disclose anything about their future business plans in a setting like that. Sure, it would have been neat to have talked about it there if James had wanted to talk about it, but it’s not something I would expect or demand.

  12. #12 clark kent
    on May 14th, 2007 at 2:34 pm

    Covering politics is like covering sports; there are so many subtle things happening at meetings that can only be observed by a reporter on the scene. There would be no way for the overseas stenographer watching on the ‘net to notice certain people in the audience rumored to have connections with a certain NFL franchise and to confirm or deny those rumors

    What ever happened to getting college journalism and political science students to cover the city council and other government meetings? I cut my teeth by covering various government meetings as an intern for various newspapers and tv stations. Didn’t get paid but got class credit, clips and met elected officals on the ground floor of politics who would move on to bigger and better things. Pasadena does not lack for bright young college students with Caltech, Occidental College and Pasadena City College nearby.

  13. #13 Jill
    on May 14th, 2007 at 10:02 pm

    Check out Macpherson’s response to similar suggestions:

    http://foothillcities.blogspot.com/2007/05/india-incident-macpherson-responds.html