Reporting Pasadena news from India

first_imgIt could be a shaky business proposition as well, said Uday Karmarkar, a UCLA professor of technology and strategy who himself sends copy editing and graphics work to Indian firms. If the goal is nuanced reporting, he said, Macpherson could spend more time editing than the labor discount is worth. Macpherson posted the help wanted ad Monday on the Indian edition of craigslist.org. Within days, he said, he’d hired two qualified Indian reporters, one a graduate from the University of California at Berkeley’s journalism school. They’ll broaden content from local news releases and event listings to analyses of local issues, perhaps eventually to investigative reports. Projected annual cost: $20,800 between the pair. Not bad wages for an Indian journalist and a bargain by U.S. salary standards, especially if each produces the expected 15 weekly articles. While remote-control reporting has plenty of skeptics, it doesn’t seem to bother Pasadena officials. Context always matters, said city spokeswoman Ann Erdman, but coverage from afar shouldn’t pose problems if articles are well edited.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! James Macpherson acknowledges the irony of covering this city just east of Los Angeles from India, but says it makes business sense. “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 said. “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 first articles, some of which will carry bylines, are slated to appear today. While Macpherson is optimistic, his plan has doubters. “Nobody in their right mind would trust the reporting of people who not only don’t know the institutions but aren’t even there to witness the events and nuances,” said Bryce Nelson, a University of Southern California journalism professor and Pasadena resident. “This is a truly sad picture of what American journalism could become.” PASADENA – 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 streetlight contracts and sewer repairs? A reporter who’s never gotten closer to Pasadena than the telecast of the Rose Parade? Outsourcing first claimed manufacturing jobs, then hit services from airline reservations to tax preparation. Now comes the next frontier: A cost-saving gamble to separate work built on shaking hands, walking the streets and knowing local subtleties – on being there – from the place where it all happens. With video of weekly City Council meetings streaming online, why not, says the editor-publisher of the two-year-old Web site pasadenanow.com. last_img

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