It may not quite be Ripley’s Believe It or Not stuff, but even to journalists used to things not so wise and wonderful, the idea of sitting in Bangalore and covering the local news in Pasadena would sound, well, odd. That’s what the editor and publisher of the Pasadena Now website did last weekend, when he hired two reporters in India to cover the Pasadena City Council. One of them is stationed in Mumbai and the other in India’s own Silicon Valley, Bangalore.
From these metropolises 9,000 miles away, they are supposed to watch all the action in Pasadena (on the Web, how else?) and report back to their bosses. Never mind if the bosses may be fast asleep when the reports reach California, which is more than 12 hours behind Indian Standard Time. And lest anyone jumps to the conclusion that Indian journalists somehow make better reporters than their Californian counterparts, pasadenanow-dot-com clarifies that this brainwave rides on nothing other than business sense (read India’s lower labour costs). This figures in a day and age when everything from manufacturing jobs and airline reservation to childcare, maths tuitions and mass at the local church is being outsourced.
The move has its merits, as it would allow the bosses enough time to keep up with the details of running their business. Having said that, it remains to be seen how reporters would file their dispatches on local news — with all its flavour — from such a distant geographical location. It’s another matter that this would hardly detract those willing to have a go at the handsome compensation package the job evidently offers.