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Comments on: Offshore Reporting No Longer So Far-Fetched Chronicling the Decline of Newspapers and the Rebirth of Journalism Mon, 24 Sep 2012 09:19:28 +0000 hourly 1 By: Jonathan Dyer Mon, 24 Sep 2012 09:19:28 +0000 Offshore whatever can be offshored and have the people on the scene focus on capturing the action. Keep expertise local and farm out the rest.

By: John Kafalas Fri, 07 Sep 2012 19:42:09 +0000 James, I took your paper for a spin, and I’m impressed — I would never have had an inkling that any of the articles were written overseas. Sorry I can’t make it out there next weekend for the Pasadena Greek Fest — looks like a great time!

By: James Macpherson Thu, 06 Sep 2012 15:55:55 +0000 Yes, it’s working. Pasadena Now has been published daily for over eight years. Our readership and ad sales have steadily increased; this is a banner year for us.

The key to outsourcing is local control — local staff add the context! But the writing can be superb, fast, and cost-effective.

I once had a Manila-based writer say to me: “James, my computer’s running as slow as the 605 on a Friday afternoon!” So — no, John, you cannot tell the difference between locally-written and offshored content if it is properly done!

By: paulgillin Thu, 06 Sep 2012 15:42:07 +0000 Totally agree. The proof is in the pudding. In the example you cite, you would need editorial oversight at a local level, but some of the writing and even analysis could be outsourced. That’s the point Macpherson makes. It’s not about throwing away your entire staff but rather knowing where you can add value.

I personally don’t read Pasadena Now. Looks like a pretty good product, and they’re still publishing after four years without local reporters. Something must be working.

I’m hoping Macpherson will jump on here at some point and tell us.

By: John Kafalas Thu, 06 Sep 2012 15:12:03 +0000 Paul, I see what Macpherson is getting at — and I guess the proof would be in a “blind taste test” to see if the reader could tell which stories were written by local reporters and which were written halfway around the world by British-English-speaking reporters with no context.

Which is the important thing. The problem with newspapers today is that there is so little critical thinking and analysis — so often, the reporter misses the point of the story, even if reporting the “facts” accurately. I seriously doubt a foreign reporter could write a meaningful account of a Providence City Council budget discussion, for instance — because although they may have seen it on video, there is so much *context* that they don’t have, from living in the city and knowing that Buddy Cianci used to be mayor and that the new guy is supposedly cleaner but not really and that the state legislature recently hiked the car tax on the lowest-income part of the citizenry while being able to say that they technically didn’t raise taxes which they had to do in order to pay back their friends in the public-employee unions… How can you impart some meaning to the facts, without that context?

But hey, if the final product is good, it’s good, no matter who wrote it or where. I don’t read Pasadena Now — is it as good as the local paper?