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Pasadena Now Outsources Newswriting From India

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The editor and publisher of the Pasadena Now website has decided that writers don't need to be in the city that they're writing about. Especially if they can be exploited for a fraction of the cost that Americans would ask.

James Macpherson logged on to the Indian version of Craigslist and was able to hire two Indians to write on his site about Pasadena for less than $20k a year for the pair, by saying, among other things, "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..." He plans on hiring a half dozen other Indians, he says.

The Associated Press, which scooped the LA Times on this story by a full day, reported that Macpherson was supposed to have his imported help start writing today, but it doesn't look like anything has been posted today on the Pasadena Now, as of noon PDT. (Not a great idea when you have the world finally clicking over to your page.)

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"I think it could be a significant way to increase the quality of journalism on the local level without the expense that is a major problem for local publications," Macpherson, a 51-year-old Pasadena native told the AP. "Whether you’re at a desk in Pasadena or a desk in Mumbai, you’re still just a phone call or e-mail away from the interview."

The Foothills Cities blog who first told us about this oddity wrote:

Of course, that's not to say that the state of local journalism in Pasadena and the Foothill Cities is just hunky dory. If anything, McPherson's decision demonstrates that the opposite is the case. Expectations for local reporting are such that it's not beyond the pale for him to hire someone in India. And as the proliferation of a local blogosphere demonstrates, from the Claremont Insider to your very own Foothill Cities, there are a lot of folks who want more. Local journalism is entering into a tumultuous transitional stage.

From part-time bloggers like ourselves to the full-time efforts like Pasadena Now to the Pasadena Star-News, everyone is trying to figure out just what niche they can carve out, how they can contribute to local news coverage and debate, and (perhaps most importantly) how they can make a buck. How it will end up is anyone's guess, but we certainly doubt that it will end up in India.

This is the very same Foothill Cities blog being threatened by Pomona to remove posts regarding rumors about a government official. Of Pomona!

Although we have much love for Pomona, despite the fact that they don't allow booze in the Glass House, they better watch it or government officiating also might get outsourced to India. How hard is it to send a C&D via email?

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