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May 16, 2007 at 12:08pm IST

Indian outsourced journos dropped

Silicon Valley, California: A website in California which created a sensation when it hired two Indian journalists to report on Pasadena city has decided to shelve its plan.

James Macpherson, editor and publisher of Pasadenanow.com, decided not publish reports by the outsourced journalists because of the “attention that we received”. The website made international news when it decided to two hire reporters in India to cover the Pasadena City Council.

One reporter was based in Mumbai and was offered $ 12,000 annually and the second, from Bangalore, was given $7,200 annually.

PASADENA TO INDIA: The Indian reporters were to cover city council meeting via the Internet.

The website claimed Pasadena City Council’s meetings were telecast on the Internet and could be covered by outsourced reporters. The reporters could e-mail officials if they needed interviews.

“A lot of the routine stuff we do can be done by really talented people in another time zone at much lower wages," Macpherson had said.

The website receives up to 45,000 hits a month is run with the help of his wife and a data entry worker and two interns. He also plans to hire a dozen more interns.

One of the two journalists has attended the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, and been a reporter for the Los Angeles Times.

"When you instant-message someone in Mumbai, it's like looking over her shoulder," Macpherson told the LA Times. The website was criticised by journalists in the US.

"To pretend you can get the feel and the culture of a town as complicated and interesting as Pasadena by e-mailing and doing things over the Internet is nutty,” said Larry Wilson, editor of the 30,000-circulation Pasadena Star-News newspaper.

Rob Gunnison, the director of school affairs there, is dismayed. "It just seems so fundamental to journalism to be there," Gunnison said. "I still can't quite believe it's not a hoax," he told the paper

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