The San Francisco Chronicle has just announced a 25% cut in its editorial team. Will that mean 25% less news in the already hard news deprived Chronicle? Or will the remaining 75% of Chronicle journalists be working 50% harder to produce the same amount of news?
Alternatively, the Chronicle could always outsource its news reporting, paying developing world wages (by the hour) for first world news. What? Journalists in India reporting Bay Area news? Technology reporters in Bangalore reporting on Silicon Valley?
Don't laugh (or cry). This is exactly what James Macpherson, the publisher of the Pasadena Now website, is doing. Macpherson has hired Indian journalists based in India to write about Pasadena's (CA) City Council.
Welcome to the brave new world of journalism 2.0, where the bottom line has replaced accuracy as the key determinant of editorial policy. What's next? The only thing cheaper than Indian journalists are unpaid amateurs. So Macpherson should take the next logical step. After all, why pay Indians when he could do a pure revenue share with anonymous bloggers (who could, for all anyone knows, be members of Pasadena City Council).
Come to think of it, that's the best idea of all. Why not actively recruit council members or politicians or business people to report on their own activities. And monetize this by charging them for the privilege. Then publishers wouldn't have to worry about paying those annoying journalists anything. News would get automatically monetized. And everyone -- except the tragically misinformed reader -- would be laughing all the way to the (online) bank.