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#89326 12/02/08 08:51 PM
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Snargle Offline OP
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A very disturbing column by Maureen Dowd, describing the outsourcing of U.S. local news reporting to contractors in India! The end of locally-produced media in America as we know it is near... frown
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The newspaper business is not only crumpling up, James Macpherson informed me here, it is probably holding �a one-way ticket to Bangalore.�

Macpherson � bow-tied and white-haired but boyish-looking at 53 � should know. He pioneered �glocal� news � outsourcing Pasadena coverage to India at Pasadena Now, his daily online �newspaperless,� as he likes to call it. Indians are writing about everything from the Pasadena Christmas tree-lighting ceremony to kitchen remodeling to city debates about eliminating plastic shopping bags
<snip>
I checked in with one of his workers in Mysore City in southern India, 40-year-old G. Sreejayanthi, who puts together Pasadena events listings. She said she had a full-time job in India and didn�t think of herself as a journalist. �I try to do my best, which need not necessarily be correct always,� she wrote back. �Regarding Rose Bowl, my first thought was it was related to some food event but then found that is related to Sports field.�

New York Times


Larry
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I've been expecting this for a long time - almost looking forward to it, in the same vindictive sense that people looked forward to GM's demise. Why shouldn't the Big Dailies fall on their swords, considering what a crappy product they've been turning out in recent years?

I can hardly think of another major newspaper personality whose hari-kari I would more relish than Ms. Dowd's.


Steve
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I think someone - probably 2wins - started a thread on this maybe a year or so ago? To be sure I think I pooh-poohed it back then...

I'm beginning to wonder what, exactly, we do produce in this country besides burgers and fries...if we're even out of the word biz.


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Yes, I have commented on this and did bring up the Pasadena Web site. Don't recall if I started the thread, but whatever the case I still stand by my belief that regardless of whether or not this man thinks he is standing on the threshold of the future of journalism, he is a charlatan and those that follow him are not interested in journalism, rather they are selling what many in my business like to refer to as "content." From the upper echelons of corporate boardrooms we hear far too many times that our "product" is "content" and we must find the best way to deliver this product in a timely and cost effective manner. Well, as long as they're looking at journalism in this manner, then they appear to have a business model that works. Of course the losers are not only people like me who make a living at this game, but those of you who rely upon journalism for information. And although there are many who enjoy expressing their disdain for the fourth estate, the reality is that if it not for journalism in all of its incarnations, we would not be sitting here discussing the topic de jour, to be sure. As for Steve's expressed disdain as noted above, Maureen Dowd makes her living as a pundit, an opinion writer and a shite stirrer. While she might have once been a reporter, telling stories that attempt to inform, she and her ilk should not be mistaken with the reporters who work to give you said information. Further more, while there are problems in this industry, I have to wonder where you would get your information once the dailies die off. The Internet? Well, sure, but who is it on the Internet working to give you all of that precious information? Bloggers? And who are these bloggers? Journalists? Why, yes, they are. I fail to see the logic in wishing the death of newspapers when they supply you with your daily fix that allows you to pontificate on boards such as this. But then, my opinion is tainted with bias.


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I fail to see the logic in wishing the death of newspapers when they supply you with your daily fix
I couldn't agree more. I generally start with Google News, a collection of headlines from all the dailies. The newspapers collect it and the internet puts it all together for us. Is it possible that the big news corporations are failing because they have become to large to fail? When, like everywhere else, profit exceeds salary and making money becomes more important than turning out good product?


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Steve, are you saying that outsourcing local news reporting to non-local word processors (I wouldn't dare use the term 'journalists') is a good thing and will benefit anyone other than the bottom line of the business producing this "news"? As much as I appreciate and enjoy the news-aggregating functions of the Internet, the bulk of the hard news information found there is generated by local, boots-on-the-ground reporters. I really don't care if warmed-over press releases and church bingo announcements are outsourced to India, but leave the reporting to reporters, not information sweat shop workers halfway around the world.

And as far as Ms. Dowd...she's an opinion columnist, not a reporter. As such, I take her words as just that, an opinion. But as they say, even a blind squirrel finds an acorn now and then. In this case, I'm happy that she brought this acorn to my attention.

Originally Posted by stereoman
I've been expecting this for a long time - almost looking forward to it, in the same vindictive sense that people looked forward to GM's demise. Why shouldn't the Big Dailies fall on their swords, considering what a crappy product they've been turning out in recent years?

I can hardly think of another major newspaper personality whose hari-kari I would more relish than Ms. Dowd's.


Larry
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Originally Posted by Greger
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I fail to see the logic in wishing the death of newspapers when they supply you with your daily fix
I couldn't agree more. I generally start with Google News, a collection of headlines from all the dailies. The newspapers collect it and the internet puts it all together for us. Is it possible that the big news corporations are failing because they have become to large to fail? When, like everywhere else, profit exceeds salary and making money becomes more important than turning out good product?
Greger - To borrow from the world of finance, newspapers are right sizing. For the past 20 years newspapers saw an incredible surge as the economy was fat and happy, for the most part. What that meant was that advertising revenue was way up. And that was a big green light for newsrooms specifically to begin beefing up on staff, creating more positions than ever before and then, beyond that, corporate began to get a bit greedy and inundate their markets with special publications that were strictly ad generators, yet they would be targeted at specific demographics so a new staff of writers and designers was required and so on down the line until one day what might be looked at as an early economic indicator began to fall off. That would be advertiser spending. First the smaller, local business started shrinking their advertising budgets and so on up the food chain. Many believe that the current decline in newspapering is due to the knee jerk reaction to the corporate folks. They began shrinking pages and then staff. At the same time they started providing Web sites for free that would possibly offer them more revenue with online sales, yet that didn't take off as expected because advertisers are still struggling to see value there.
Then along comes Walter Hussman, the longtime owner of the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. He stood in opposition to the entire industry and said he was going to ad more news hole to his papers which means more pages and he was going to charge subscription rates for his Web sites. His peers said he was crazy. It was suicide, they said. Yet the Arkansas Democrat Gazette is the only major daily in the country to make a profit in recent years and see its circulation numbers rise. Why? Because by adding more news hole and thus content, real content, Hussman gave his readers more of what they want, news. Advertisers liked what they saw and began jumping on board. Readers like it and began subscribing. The Web site is a success as well. The site has plenty of subscribers and some advertisers. Why? Perceived value, plain and simple.


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Originally Posted by Snargle
Steve, are you saying that outsourcing local news reporting to non-local word processors (I wouldn't dare use the term 'journalists') is a good thing and will benefit anyone other than the bottom line of the business producing this "news"?
No, in fact that is exactly the opposite of what I was saying. I drew the analogy to GM for a reason. Imagine your question posed in this way:
Quote
Are you saying that outsourcing parts manufacturing to overseas factories is a good thing and will benefit anyone other than the bottom line of the business producing these cars?
We need more not less smaller, more independent, local producers involved in the process - whether we're talking about cars or about news. As 2Wins points out, the newspapers that are being successful are the ones who are following that model. The big dailies, like the NY Times and the WAPO, the LA Times, the ChiTown papers, are not following that model. As I said in my comment:
Quote
Why shouldn't the Big Dailies fall on their swords . . .
As 2Wins said in his first comment:
Quote
. . . those that follow him are not interested in journalism, rather they are selling what many in my business like to refer to as "content."
And I agree with that.

BTW Greger, Google News does not start with a collection of headlines from the dailies, nor do most of the other internet newsgatherers such as Yahoo, Alternet, or my favorite Anti-War dot com. They start out with a collection of headlines from news agencies, just as the dailies do. The dailies can't compete with these internet news sources. They must find another product that appeals to readers on a different level, that is more accessible in the print format than online.

I contend that there is, essentially, no such product. I believe the future of news and information is on the screen rather than on paper, and I applaud that.


Steve
Give us the wisdom to teach our children to love,
to respect and be kind to one another,
so that we may grow with peace in mind.

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Snargle Offline OP
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Thanks for the clarification, Steve...I think we're in general agreement. The days of wood pulp and ink journalism are numbered. Let's just hope we can keep a free press in whatever format technology leads us to.


Larry
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Google News does not start with a collection of headlines from the dailies
OK, This is something I don't understand then, under the various headlines and blurbs which are credited to various sources are links like these:
Quote
Calgary Herald - New York Times - Reuters - International Herald Tribune
all 2,337 news articles �
Are these all news agencies? Rather than newspapers? I had sort of assumed that the various dailies owned and operated these websites that provided news and accepted adveriser dollars. What am I missing here?


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