Silicon Valley: A California-based news website that created quite a stir when it hired two reporters in India to cover local city government and politics failed to publish the first batch of outsourced stories because of the overwhelming reaction to the plan.
The two-year old website was to carry today the first lot of stories from India-based journalists.
However, James Macpherson, editor and publisher of the pasadenanow.com, said the website had been prevented from carrying out the stories of the two reporters in India because of the “attention that we’ve received”.
The little-know website made national and international news last week when it had hired two reporters to cover the Pasadena City Council. One lives in Mumbai and will be paid $12,000 (Rs489,180) a year. The other will work in Bangalore for $7,200 (Rs293,508).
The publisher says it makes sense, since City Council meetings are available on the Web. From nearly 9,000 miles away, the outsourced journalists would watch, then write their stories while their boss sleeps. In addition, the correspondents will be able to e-mail anybody they want for an interview.
“A lot of the routine stuff we do can be done by really talented people in another time zone at much lower wages,” said Macpherson, 51, who used to run a clothing business with manufacturing help from Vietnam and India.
One of the two chosen correspondents has attended the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, reported the Los Angeles Times.
Rob Gunnison, the director of school affairs there, is dismayed. “It just seems so fundamental to journalism to be there,” Gunnison said.
“I still can’t quite believe it’s not a hoax,” he told the paper.
Macpherson, a Pasadena native, runs the website, which he said gets 45,000 visitors a month, on a shoestring budget from his condo with help from his wife, a data entry worker and two interns.
Macpherson plans to hire half a dozen more Indian reporters. He’ll add some local flavour by doing interviews, then e-mailing the recordings to India. “When you instant-message someone in Mumbai, it’s like looking over her shoulder,” he told the LA Times.
Larry Wilson, editor of the 30,000-circulation Pasadena Star-News newspaper, disagreed.
“To pretend you can get the feel and the culture of a town as complicated and interesting as Pasadena by e-mailing and doing things over the Internet is nutty,” he said.