Local News Reporting Outsourced to India
From today's LA Times, an article about outsourcing local news reporting to India, where you can apparently hire UC-Berkeley grads for $7,000 per year on Craigslist.
When is local journalism not really local? When it's about Pasadena and written by someone in 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.
On India's Craigslist, he posted an ad that said, "We do not believe that geographic distance between California and India will present unsurmountable problems, and that working together with you will result in your development of a keen working knowledge of this city's affairs."
Dozens replied. One of the two chosen had attended the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. 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."
Here are a few current ads on Bangalore's Craigslist for writers, click here, and here, and here (this ad says that female writers are preferred?).
Here is the link to the NY Times article about this story.