Sunday, May 13, 2007

Reporting From Bangalore on The Rose Bowl Parade

PASADENA, California: The job posting was perplexing: "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 street-light contracts and sewer repairs? A reporter who has never gotten closer to Pasadena than the telecast of the Rose Bowl parade?

Outsourcing first claimed manufacturing jobs, then hit services such as technical support, airline reservations and tax preparation. Now comes the next frontier: local journalism.

I wonder if media members are going to worry a tad more about outsourcing now that it's going to start hitting them as well. Anything to save a few bucks on the dollar line was good for the working class. So, all those free trade loving folks are going to say this is a good thing right?

There is some reporting that isn't interactive for the most part. Why send a couple reporters to hear a candidate speak, when a guy in India can watch it, and write up a story about the highlights?

Good reporters will say this isn't the same thing. The product suffers when you just ship it willy nilly overseas. That is the problem though. It's considered a product these days and the companies have bottom lines and shareholders to please.

This may be the first instance I know of in where reporting is being outsourced to India, but it will not be the last. How many good reporters got their start, practicing their craft covering city hall, writing copy on these type of stories?

This is going to make journalism worse. There was a study I recall that showed journalists were as a group more pro free trade than society. More stories like this, and I wonder if those numbers will shift.