Thursday, December 4, 2008

so not news

In case you missed it, read this piece by Maureen Dowd on James Macpherson, who puts out Pasadena Now -- an online daily -- that is completely outsourced, as in reported and written, by writers in India. FYI: Pasadena is in California.

Words fail.

Writes Dowd:

He said he got the idea to outsource about a year ago, sitting in his Pasadena home, where he puts out Pasadena Now with his wife, Candice Merrill. Macpherson had worked in the ’90s for designers like Richard Tyler and Alan Flusser, and had outsourced some of his clothing manufacturing to Vietnam.

So, he thought, “Where can I get people who can write the word for less?” In a move that sounded so preposterous it became a Stephen Colbert skit, he put an ad on Craigslist for Indian reporters and got a flood of responses.

He fired his seven Pasadena staffers — including five reporters — who were making $600 to $800 a week, and now he and his wife direct six employees all over India on how to write news and features, using telephones, e-mail, press releases, Web harvesting and live video streaming from a cellphone at City Hall.
“I pay per piece, just the way it was in the garment business,” he says. “A thousand words pays $7.50.”


tk said...

There is simply no end to the greed and lack of concern for the American people. What's next? Outsourced dentristry?

barbara kelley said...

actually, i like the idea of an outsourced dentist. you'd never have to go...

Jack said...

I took a gander at Pasadena Now, and most of the stories are clearly the result of press releases from the city and non-profit groups. How are these outsourced reporters supposed to uncover, say, corruption in city government if they can't be there in person to build sources and find nuance?

Alice Joy said...

I think the answer for these small, local papers is to get MORE local... talk to the teachers, the store owners, the kids - not more general. What's the point of reading a local paper if it's not local.