She’s the little old lady from Utta Pradesh now…
James MacPherson is the publisher of an online website called Pasadena Now.
Pasadenanow.com is causing a lot of buzz in the journalism community. Not because it’s hyperlocal news. that’s old stuff. But because MacPherson has announced he is going to outsource the reporting jobs to India.
MacPherson believes that since City Council meetings are streamed on the web already, there is no need for a reporter’s physical presence in the room, and the goings on can be covered just as easily from Bangalore.
His move has caused such as stir that New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd has already picked up on the story.
MacPherson’s idea may or may not work, but it gave me a moment to think about the whole notion of outsourcing video production in general.
I am on the board of a wonderful organization called Video Volunteers.
It was founded a few years ago by a graduate of one of my seminars, Jessica Mayberry, and today it is a world leader in empowering people in India with video cameras, laptop edits and the skill sets to tell their own stories in video.
Some of our trainees have now been making video for several years, and are quite good at it. So good, in fact that I think perhaps it is time for them to break out onto the world stage.
It is fine to give out video cameras and teach people to ‘tell their own stories’, but after a while, perhaps it is time for them to start and tell other people’s stories as well. After all, that’s what happens when a crew from Atlanta or New York flies half way around the world to shoot stories in Thailand or Rwanda for ITN or CBS or the BBC.
Well, maybe it is time for our Indian camera crews to get into that business as well.
Of course, in India the median income is an astonishing $115 a month. That’s one hundred fifteen dollars a month (just in case you thought that was a typo). So my guess is that our Indian camera crews will be pretty competitive… and quite happy to work long and hard hours and produce a superior product.
At those rates it might just be worth it to fly the crews into the US for work here, in fact.