Outcourcing Local News?

It is bad enough that newspapers are using wire copy and cutting foreign bureaus, but this bit of news, per Dan Kennedy, is simply insane.

The Associated Press reports that the Web site Pasadena Now has decided to outsource coverage of the local city council to reporters in India. In a follow-up, the Los Angeles Times says that one of these distant journalists, based in Mumbai, will make $12,000 a year, while the other, in Bangalore, will make $7,200. They'll watch webcasts of the council meetings, consult relevant documents online and send their stories by e-mail. Who cares if they wouldn't know Pasadena from Rawalpindi?

Pasadena Now editor and publisher James Macpherson tells the Times: "A lot of the routine stuff we do can be done by really talented people in another time zone at much lower wages."