Outsourced ‘journalism’ suffers a welcome blow

Press Trust of India is reporting that a California website that created a sensation by hiring two Indian journalists based in Bombay and Bangalore to report on Pasadena city has decided to shelve its plan.

Editor and publisher James Macpherson says the move to nix outsourced local journalism follows the negative “attention that we received”. The original plan required the reporters to write the stories after viewing the proceedings on the internet, and if necessary by contacting officials by email.

“A lot of the routine stuff we do can be done by really talented people in another time zone at much lower wages,” Macpherson had said. The Bombay reporter was offered $ 12,000 annually and the second, from Bangalore, was given $7,200 annually.

But the plan was criticised by journalists in the US.

“To pretend you can get the feel and the culture of a town as complicated and interesting as Pasadena by e-mailing and doing things over the Internet is nutty,” said Larry Wilson, editor of the 30,000-circulation Pasadena Star-News newspaper.

Rob Gunnison, the director of school affairs there, is dismayed. “It just seems so fundamental to journalism to be there,” Gunnison said. “I still can’t quite believe it’s not a hoax,” he told the paper.

Also read: What’s the dateline?

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