Battlepanda: Globalization comes to the news room


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Globalization comes to the news room

PASADENA, Calif. - The job posting was a head-scratcher: "We seek a newspaper journalist based in India to report on the city government and political scene of Pasadena, California, USA."

A reporter half a world away covering local street-light contracts and sewer repairs? A reporter who has never gotten closer to Pasadena than the telecast of the Rose Bowl parade?

Outsourcing first claimed manufacturing jobs, then hit services such as technical support, airline reservations and tax preparation. Now comes the next frontier: local journalism.

James Macpherson, editor and publisher of the two-year-old Web site, acknowledged it sounds strange to have journalists in India cover news in this wealthy city just outside Los Angeles.

Of course, when I think about how much of my job is absolutely reliant on the internet and phones as opposed to shoeleather, I have to admit the article is not quite as onion-ish as it appears at first glance. I have written and filed stories from the U.S. while on holiday, using skype to do the interviews.

Still, it's an oddly horrifying article. Macpherson certainly got a bargain as far as the salary is concerned -- two reporters, one a graduate from UC Berkeley journalism school, for $20,800 a year. However, I wonder how his plans for them to start doing investigative reporting will pan out.