This past weekend, the New York Times published "A Penny For My Thoughts? ," a Maureen Dowd column that focused on James Macpherson, publisher of the online publication Pasadena Now. To save money, Dowd writes, Macpherson sacked his staff of seven Pasadena-based staffers and replaced them with six contributors who write about doings in the California city from their homes in India. There's a learning curve for such scribes: One of them, G. Sreejayanthi, admits that she initially thought the Rose Bowl was "related to some food event." But the price is right: They're paid $7.50 for a thousand-word article.
And who does Macpherson see as a kindred spirit when it comes to his adventures in outsourcing? None other than Denver's own Dean Singleton.
Back in October, Singleton, the CEO of MediaNews Group and publisher of the Denver Post, gave a speech at a gathering sponsored by the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association during which he proseltyzed for outsourcing as a way to save money amid the current print journalism slump. "In today's world, whether your desk is down the hall or around the world, from a computer standpoint, it doesn't matter," he said, adding, "One thing we're exploring is having one news desk for all of our newspapers in MediaNews... maybe even offshore."
According to Dowd's piece, Macpherson felt "vindicated" but "conflicted" by Singleton's thinking on this process. After all, he said, "I am an American, too."
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If Singleton is having similar feelings, he hasn't seen fit to share them publicly. -- Michael Roberts