NY Times columnist Maureen Dowd visited with James Macpherson, publisher of the PasadenaNow online newspaper, who has become famous for outsourcing his newsroom to India.

Last year he fired his seven Pasadena staffers — including five reporters — who were making $600 to $800 a week. He posted an ad on Craigslist for Indian reporters and got a flood of responses. According to Dowd, Macpherson and his wife now direct six employees all over India on how to write news and features, using telephones, e-mail, press releases, Web harvesting and live video streaming. Macpherson, who used to be in the clothing industry, tells Dowd: “I pay per piece, just the way it was in the garment business … A thousand words pays $7.50.”

The ironic part of this is that PasadenaNow competes with MediaNews Group’s Pasadena Star-News, whose public editor was among the many in the journalism business who scolded Macpherson for outsourcing his newsroom. But as Dowd points out, MediaNews chief executive Dean Singleton is now the one who is preaching outsourcing, and wouldn’t rule it out for the newsroom. Macpherson said he feels vindicated by Singleton’s comments.

SF Press Club News

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