A Medill alum posted this link to an LA Times business story: Outsourcing the News: Hiring reporters in India to cover Pasadena, CA.”
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.
Yesterday, I sent over the AP wire copy to my Medill alum list-serve and so far, I got about 25 responses…and I suspect more are on the way. Everyone asked: how can anybody cover local news while living 9,000 miles away?
The web editor argues that since meetings are posted online, anyone can simply watch and report what they observe. But what about that local flavor? Digging for more information with face-to-face interviews…writing about more than what the camera let’s you see – like how many people attended the meeting? And what protests, if any, were brewing outside City Hall?
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Other people on the list-serve pointed out that the London-based Reuters has already been outsourcing its business reporting to Bangalore. And other folks wondered:
….”how low can we go” in terms of journalism salaries here.
Overall, a disturbing trend and it leaves me feeling a little expendable.