Outsourcing “journalism” backend work to India is the flavour of the season. Some British newspapers get their race cards and television schedules done by a Press Association-Mphasis outfit in Mangalore. Reuters covers US small businesses, compiles earnings tables for large companies, conducts polling, and gets press releases rewritten in Bangalore. NDTV digitizes archives, moves content from one format to another, does closed-captioning, craft-editing, graphics and set design for western clients.
Edward Wasserman, a Knight professor of journalism ethics at Washington and Lee University, writes:
“It’s ironic that an industry that frets endlessly about its estrangement from the public, that claims to want its workings made transparent, accessible and accountable, would seize on a strategy that makes everything it does more remote, more cumbersome, more unintelligible.
“It’s even more ironic that a profession that’s dedicated to producing work that’s richly reported and thoroughly knowledgeable would annihilate whole tiers of support staff that in a traditional newsroom are trusted sources of background, context, taste and memory.”
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