Update on what may be the dumbest outsourcing idea yet that I actually love. Last week the Associated Press reported that a daily news website in Pasadena, California, has hired two reporters based in India to cover LOCAL NEWS. The reason: since things like city council meetings are streamed online, who really needs to be there?
The site, www.pasadenanow.com,is run on a shoestring by James Macpherson, and it’s still not turning a profit after two years. So, in a cost-conscious move, Macpherson placed an ad for Indian journalists on Craigslist, and faster than you can say “help desk,” he hired two people for less than the price of a single American reporter. Macpherson reasons, “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 an interview.” Update: after the AP broke the story (presumably from a reporter in the Los Angeles region, but who really knows?), Macpherson says he’s been so overwhelmed with the media response (threatened American reporters?) that he hasn’t had time to train the new hires. They have different sleep schedules.