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Pasadena Now's India outsourcing won't kill journalism

December 8, 2008 | 11:01 am

Pasadena Now Publisher James Macpherson

As the alleged scourge of American journalism, James Macpherson cuts a rather disappointing figure.

In a crisp blue blazer, with slicked-back gray hair, the onetime garment manufacturer looks like a prep school headmaster. He speaks with the polite self-control of PBS' Jim Lehrer.

Macpherson drew headlines and hate mail last year when it was revealed that his Pasadena Now website intended to report the news from Pasadena using writers in Mumbai and Bangalore, India.

Outrage surged again a week ago, when Maureen Dowd of the New York Times reported on her visit with Macpherson, who told her that newspapers are in "a General Motors moment" and that his website could become a prototype for the future.

This might all seem terribly threatening to a knuckle-walking, retrograde print reporter like me, if I hadn't spent a little time with the Internet publisher and taken a spin through Pasadena Now.

What I found was a small businessman struggling to make a dollar, and a bright, glossy website mostly preoccupied with society happenings, ribbon-cuttings, fundraisers, the arts and, one day this week, gingerbread houses made by local schoolchildren.

Read the full story here.

-- James Rainey

Photo: James Macpherson, publisher of Pasadena Now, in May 2007. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times