Outsourcing The News

Outsourcing The News

Summary: 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?


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.

Topics: India, Banking, Outsourcing

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  • Journalists

    Don't make me laugh. For at least ten years now, journalism has been reduced to cut-and-paste editing of the newswire reports.
    • AND...

      they still don't get the stories right!!

      Professional Journalists - who are they kidding? That just means they get paid. Do they think we are ALL stupid or what??

      Some of them just make up their own stories these days. Come on. News comes from everywhere. And before NEWS the world still turned and lives went on. Journalist should be glad they have a job! They take themselves far, far too seriously. Most of us work to ignore them anyway - the vast majority couldn't report true, accurate account of what is happening if their life depended on it. We live in a world of "It's all about me, me, me." And journalists are right there trying to grab attention to increase their false sense of importance.

      If ALL journalists stopped reporting today, there would be less "noise" in the universe. :)
  • Yeah, but...

    This is a worthwhile subject to consider. The money-driven media that we have now dances to the tune of their advertisers, and even PBS with its non-commercials is suspect at best. Have we seen where this will lead? We're already well into the race to the bottom; now we can continue at 100mbps.
    • Oh please!

      This isn't worthwhile. And your arguement about advertisers controlling media doesn't fly. They simply support media sourses, as they NEED a means to get their commercial messages out to the public.

      So, you want to pay to subscribe to PBS? Or ABC, NBC, CBS?? Hunh? Those advertisers make it possible for you to see content for free!! Without them, you pay to play.

      • content?

        Not all content is worthwhile, useful or trustworthy. I would hope to hear all sides of an issue (I know that's asking a lot) but I really have to think that corporate-supported media doesn't even get close. I would think that Archer-Daniels-Midland, for example, would withdraw their advertising from a media outlet that did a piece that was highly critical of genetically engineered crops. It only makes sense.
        And while we don't pay for PBS, we do have to endure their regular beg-a-thons... ;)
  • Mathematics and Metrics

    First of all, the remaining 75% of the [i]Chronicle's[/i] journalists will have to work [b]33.33%[/b] harder to make up for the staff cuts. A 50% increase would produce 112.5% of the previous output.

    It is not the Internet causing changes in our culture, rather the Internet as exploited by corporations that are desperate to survive in the latter days of Corporate Capitalism. IN a similar manner to State Capitalism (masquerading as Communism in the Soviet Union) that collapsed in 1991, Corporate Capitalism is inherently unsustainable and will collapse within 20 years. Then we may see what is possible in a world of communication unconstrained by the imperative to turn a profit or "stack cheese."